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Old 20-04-2015, 10:30   #196
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Hugh,
The changes are amazing! She's beautiful. Thank you for sharing your build with us. One question...you mentioned in the video the portholes down below will be fixed. Any reason you wouldn't do opening ports like the Antares, for example? You would get terrific natural ventilation down there.
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Old 21-04-2015, 09:08   #197
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

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Hugh,
The changes are amazing! She's beautiful. Thank you for sharing your build with us. One question...you mentioned in the video the portholes down below will be fixed. Any reason you wouldn't do opening ports like the Antares, for example? You would get terrific natural ventilation down there.
Best,
Rich
No need. You've got so many hatches in the deck that there's no shortage of ventilation below. I've slept at anchor in an SF50 with the hatches open and a 10kt breeze, and I was reaching for a blanket. With the temp outside quite warm.

I do like the side portholes of the Antares, but even as big as they are, they're too small for me. I like side windows for the view and deck hatches for air scoops. But that's just me. I've also never felt like side portholes bring in much air at anchor, since they are in line with the wind instead of facing the wind.

Then again, with the Antares, you've got the galley down, so the opening porthole makes sense to let out heat. In the SF50, the galley is up (usually), and there's a large opening window aft, just above the stove, so there's that difference.

Also: I've had an opening porthole come undone in a heavy sea in a power boat. Not sure if that kind of pounding could happen in a sailboat, but it made me paranoid about side hatches coming undone while underway. Even with the SF50, I have a feeling I'll be checking the escape hatches in the forward inner hulls to be sure they're secure. I don't ever want that nightmare again.
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Old 21-04-2015, 10:08   #198
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

I agree. Our cat has opening portholes in the side of the hull but we never open them. Im too paranoid we will forget and ship some sea underway. The deck hatches are adequate for ventilation. Lagoon has changed from opening escape hatches to fixed glass with a hammer located next to the hatch to smash it. Im not sure if its better or worse but I guess they didnt like the issues with opening hatches there.
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Old 21-04-2015, 17:48   #199
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Looking good. All practical modifications.

There is still a massive amount of work to go. I would not be surprised if six months rather than 4 months to go. A quality fitout generally takes longer than the building of the hulls and deck.

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Old 21-04-2015, 18:01   #200
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

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Looking good. All practical modifications.

There is still a massive amount of work to go. I would not be surprised if six months rather than 4 months to go. A quality fitout generally takes longer than the building of the hulls and deck.

Six months would be fine with me. I wouldn't mind leaving Cape Town in October/November rather than July/August. Could meander up for the Miami show, miss the named storm season, and do Annapolis in 2016.

I floated this with the builder, to let them know I'm in no hurry. Rather see everything go smoothly rather than quickly. And would love to spend some more time in this area (it's gorgeous here). Do a few weeks of sea trials, spend a few extra weeks in Cape Town. No telling when I'll be back in this neck of the woods with the boat. Be awesome to enjoy it for a bit.
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Old 22-04-2015, 12:43   #201
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Nice👍🏻
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Old 23-04-2015, 14:04   #202
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

I'm familiar enough with buying used sailboats and all that entails. This is the first time I've bought a new boat. And now that I've been in South Africa for a week, watching over the build process, I can't imagine buying a new boat and not being on-site for a good portion of the build. It's so incredibly useful to be able to go over systems and decisions while the boat is under construction. It's also very useful to be able to see how the boat is put together, so you know what things look like behind the furniture.

I've been popping over while the workers are at lunch. St. Francis really encourages me to feel at home coming by the yard, whether it's in the morning, after the end of shift, over lunch, or on weekends. I try not to abuse it, but man . . . it's so hard not to go over there to measure something or share an idea.

Today, we looked at davit options. There are a ton of solutions to launching a heavy dinghy off solid chocks, and all have pluses and minues. The previous hull has an in-boom extension and a spare halyard. The system works, and has the advantage of completely disappearing and using existing winches and stoppers, but I've been looking for something a little more user-friendly for a singlehander, and something that is a bit quicker, so I don't hesitate to lift the dinghy every night.

They've also done a lowering davit system, which is nice. But I'm leaning toward a solution inspired from my powerboating days. It's a davit crane with an extendable boom. Mounted at the top of the starboard swim steps, the davit would lift the dinghy and either drop it off the stern or over the starboard side. Quick, with one-button operation, and a manual swing of the boom. All the measurements look good. Wish I'd seen this on more cats so I could get a sense of what's right or wrong with the idea. It feels like a sport fish solution on a sailboat, which is a funny combination. But I think it'll look sleek and sexy while being ultra functional.


The other crazy cool thing has been laying out furniture. Cabinets are going in, and we discuss where to put a hanging locker, whether to use drawers here or shelves, stuff like that. You can really think about what you're putting on the boat, and lay out the storage to suit your needs. One cabinet that I wanted to use for some tools and spares is getting a narrow workbench with recessed threads so I can bolt on a vise. It's the sort of modification I did to my own sailboat aftermarket, but now it's being done by workers with far more talent and right off the bat. I feel spoiled.


Probably the most important thing has been looking at material samples. I chose some colors and materials via websites, but things look so different in person. So I was able to tweak the countertop material, get a different shade of blue for the leather, and different Sunbrella for some cushions. Meeting with the upholsterer tomorrow to discuss cushions and things like that. I have to say, the build process is slightly addicting. It was a lot of fun to buy a used boat 20 years ago and find all the goodies in the holds left behind by the previous owner, and rig the boat to my liking over the subsequent years, but this is altogether something else. If you can afford it, and have the time, I highly recommend it. And if you happen to get a St. Francis, you are in for a treat when you visit this part of South Africa. This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited. The hardest part of building a boat here will be sailing away.
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Old 23-04-2015, 14:22   #203
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

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Originally Posted by Hugh Howey View Post
I've been looking for something a little more user-friendly for a singlehander, and something that is a bit quicker, so I don't hesitate to lift the dinghy every night.

They've also done a lowering davit system, which is nice. But I'm leaning toward a solution inspired from my powerboating days. It's a davit crane with an extendable boom. Mounted at the top of the starboard swim steps, the davit would lift the dinghy and either drop it off the stern or over the starboard side. Quick, with one-button operation, and a manual swing of the boom. All the measurements look good. Wish I'd seen this on more cats so I could get a sense of what's right or wrong with the idea. It feels like a sport fish solution on a sailboat, which is a funny combination. But I think it'll look sleek and sexy while being ultra functional.
This is the best solution IMO and one I wish could be easily modified to my boat. Maybe slightly better are the hydraulic passerelle's that have an integrated winch hook. I saw one on a Lagoon power cat and it was sweet.

If you spend much time in the Med, a hydraulic passerelle is a huge bonus.
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Old 23-04-2015, 14:23   #204
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Thanks for the great update Hugh! It sounds like such an amazing experience. It amazes me that this is not the norm. No one would build a million dollar house (or even a 100K house) without being actively involved in the build process. So it amazes me that some producers do not allow modifications when the buyer is spending such amounts of money. It is quite refreshing to see your experience! Keep the updates (and videos) coming! BB.
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Old 23-04-2015, 14:31   #205
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

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This is the best solution IMO and one I wish could be easily modified to my boat. Maybe slightly better are the hydraulic passerelle's that have an integrated winch hook. I saw one on a Lagoon power cat and it was sweet.

If you spend much time in the Med, a hydraulic passerelle is a huge bonus.
Nice to know I might not be crazy!

This is one more place where I'm so glad I'm going with a 24V house bank. The davit winch motor will appreciate the juice, and the wire run will be half the gauge.

Also forgot to mention that I'm going with a DC generator rather than an AC generator. I really think this is the way of the future. So many advantages and not a single disadvantage that I can see. Variable speed means greater efficiency. They're quieter. Lighter. And I believe the system we're putting in will have the nifty feature of automatically kicking the generator on when the battery levels get to a set point. When the batteries are topped up, the generator kicks itself off automatically. Can you imagine how awesome this would be? How much fuel do we burn running the genset well after the batteries have reached a full charge? It adds up. And how often do we check the voltage to see if we need to run the genset? Imagine not ever having to do that. Craziness.
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Old 23-04-2015, 14:37   #206
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

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Thanks for the great update Hugh! It sounds like such an amazing experience. It amazes me that this is not the norm. No one would build a million dollar house (or even a 100K house) without being actively involved in the build process. So it amazes me that some producers do not allow modifications when the buyer is spending such amounts of money. It is quite refreshing to see your experience! Keep the updates (and videos) coming! BB.
Agreed. There were a few model cats I would've been happy with. Most of them would've come as-is, either because they were already built or usually because they came from the factory a certain way, and you could basically choose the upholstery and the number of cabins, and that was it.

Having seen what this is like, I think the options have to be to buy a used boat or to oversee the build of a new boat. Spending this amount of money and not getting to customize the options would feel like a huge loss to me. But maybe I'm weird for geeking out so hard over all this stuff. Other shoppers might just want a turn-key solution that gets them on the water with their families. I'm a tinkerer by nature, and someone who loves things customized to how I plan on utilizing them. Different strokes for different folks!
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Old 23-04-2015, 15:12   #207
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

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Also forgot to mention that I'm going with a DC generator rather than an AC generator. I really think this is the way of the future. So many advantages and not a single disadvantage that I can see. Variable speed means greater efficiency. They're quieter. Lighter. And I believe the system we're putting in will have the nifty feature of automatically kicking the generator on when the battery levels get to a set point. When the batteries are topped up, the generator kicks itself off automatically. Can you imagine how awesome this would be? How much fuel do we burn running the genset well after the batteries have reached a full charge? It adds up. And how often do we check the voltage to see if we need to run the genset? Imagine not ever having to do that. Craziness.
What is the advantage though? If you have shore power you need to have a charger large enough to supply the battery bank, so you can also just use the charger off the generator. I've read many generators having the feature of turning on automatically when battery power is low so that isn't a proprietary feature. I believe you are not going with A/C, but you will really limit it in the future if you change your mind. Forget a dive compressor also.
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Old 23-04-2015, 15:30   #208
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

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What is the advantage though? If you have shore power you need to have a charger large enough to supply the battery bank, so you can also just use the charger off the generator. I've read many generators having the feature of turning on automatically when battery power is low so that isn't a proprietary feature. I believe you are not going with A/C, but you will really limit it in the future if you change your mind. Forget a dive compressor also.
I will have A/C on the boat. They can run off the DC generator via an inverter. As could a compressor.

So the main advantage is this: Sailboats have traditionally installed generators to run the 110V AC load (or 220V, depending). But how are they used 90% of the time? To run a battery charger, that then puts out a DC load to the battery bank. But the nature of alternating current means that the generator has to run at full load, all the time, every time. The RPMs are divisible by 60 (or 50), which gives you the hertz for your 110V systems.

So despite the fact that you are mostly running your generator for a battery charger, you are having to run at full throttle, which means a lot of noise and max fuel burn, to do a thing through conversion, just because 10% or less of the time you might be running something that draws 110V AC.

A DC generator is built for a typical cruiser's use: To keep the battery bank topped up. Hertz are not a consideration, so the genset can run at variable load. That means soft and quiet with much less fuel burn most of the time. And revving up only when there's a draw (like running the aircon, a microwave, the dive compressor, etc.) It's a generator designed for the way we use them. We've just gotten really used to using AC gensets because of the way larger boats use them, which is usually in an always-running situation.

Besides being quieter and more efficient, they are also lighter for the same kw. And since they throttle to suit the load, the run time is less.

Of course, this is all from what I'm reading and from a basis of principles and specs. I guess we'll see when the rubber meets the road, right?
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Old 23-04-2015, 17:37   #209
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Maybe your right. Fischer Panda doesn't list the diesel usage of the DC generator so I can't compare it. I do know that generator diesel has to be one of my smallest costs in the big picture. I do wish I had a real small generator though as I've a 12 and 8 kva, both Northern Lights. So just in generators there's about 2000lbs of weight (maybe more with all the other stuff). You will need one huge inverter though.
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Old 23-04-2015, 18:07   #210
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Are you fitting any solar Hugh? We dont have a genset and live fine on solar, but some things arent possible (Aircon and Dive compressor) with our setup. I think a small AC dive compressor neeeds something like 6KVA to run and Aircon somwhere near that so so long as the battery bank and inverter is up for it I guess it will work with a DC genset. For us that would be the only time we would use a genset and therefore would be creating DC, supplying batteries, then converting back to AC for the appliance, which seems a bit backward to me. Also the battery bank would have to be pretty huge to handle a 5KVA load? Or perhaps the generator feeds the inverter directly?
Anyway, sounds interesting!
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