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Old 19-03-2015, 01:57   #61
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

As a long term cat sailor I am a little envious of what you are producing. I also prefer saildrives, and as long as the motors are in watertight compartments I am content - I have never had, or seen a failed SD seal.
I also like the squaring of the seating arrangement, a constant annoyance for us and we have also been considering doing the same to our saloon seating. On a cat we had built for ourselves a number of years ago, my wife requested the builder to countersink a recessed step in the hull side to allow easier access from a pontoon - we could not believe how useful that was.
With the squared seating, internally, I would not be concerned as these are rarely structural components, but I would double check the cockpit seating as I believe these could be. Possibly ask for Angelo Lavranos to comment via Duncan? You have great suggestions and a very obviously helpful builder - what are you doing about collision arrangements and floatation in the case of knocking a hole in the boat - say hitting a container? Does Duncan provide something as standard? What about your spar? Anything special about that? On our boat we added folding mast steps which we would never be without, LED deck flood lights and something we have found very useful; spreader mounted forward facing (4x4 car sourced) LED driving lights. One is focussed for long range whilst one is a wide pattern. Creeping into some remote anchorages at night these have proved a blessing and beat standing in bows with a spot light hands down. They are very low profile and are switched from the helm.
Love the boat, love what you are doing.
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Old 19-03-2015, 04:39   #62
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Thanks, Bulawayo. That sounds like a great setup with the forward-facing lights. The previous St. Francis 50 had LED spreader lights and a deck light. You could really bathe the entire boat in light, which made working on deck at night a breeze (checking rigging, shaking out a reef, etc).

The floatation safety on the St. Francis is brilliant. There's a watertight bulkhead forward of the owner and VIP heads. If you stove in the hull here, you would lose a few inches of waterline before you've equalized with the water outside the hull. The next compartment abaft this bulkhead is the fresh water tanks, so if you stove those in, you just replace fresh water with salt water. No real change in floatation. The keels contain the black water tanks, so you could puncture those as well. And the engine compartments are sealed to a level above the waterline, so you could drop both engines out, and you'd lose more inches of waterline, but you'd still be afloat.

There's a St. Francis 50 for sale just south of me in Ft. Lauderdale that went up on reefs twice and got bashed around. I haven't seen pictures of the damage it sustained, but I talked to someone in the market for a cat at the last boat show who was interested in it and couldn't believe the shape it was in. I hope not to have that experience, but I know with my planned itinerary that I'll run aground a few times with this boat, and that more and more containers are being lost. I wouldn't feel more confident in any other boat. Maybe just as confident in a couple, but not more so.

Question about your folding steps: Did you run them to the spreader or all the way up? Any concerns with windage or whistling? I riveted on fixed mast steps all the way to the top of my monohull, and I used them all the time. I'll miss those. I'd planned on using a bosun's chair when I need to go to the top, but I also know that I'll do less inspecting with the added inconvenience.
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Old 19-03-2015, 06:57   #63
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Yes, we fitted folding steps all the way up with two parallel steps at the top for doing mast head maintenance. Better than standing like a stork or hanging in a chair never actually able to see the mast head propoerly. We still use a climbing harness as well for security. Using a bosuns chair is not so easy when climbing steps. Our steps do not create any noise either and as they fold they do not snag any lines. They tend to get used more than we originally planned as they are used to gain quick access to the spreaders for reef watching as well.
Incidentally, we also have yellow sail covers & UV strip - I won't go that route again. After 15 months they really show the grime despite our best attempts. We also modify our lazy jacks so they are all pulled forward when raising the main to prevent the battens from snagging - difficult to explain, but very effective.
Have you bought your dinghy yet? We are very impressed with our aquisition last year of our all aluminium deep V dinghy (also with a decent power outboard) from Ocean Craft in Australia. It is proving a superb dinghy. It is rigid hulled with aluminium 'tubes' in lieu of the normal inflatable ones and also is fitted with all round soft fender that cleverly folds up to reduce splashes coming aboard when you want to stay drier. We actually ended up buying two - we bought a smaller one for our children which has sealable compartments in the tubes to keep fishing rods/survival gear etc in. Both have demountable goal posts to fit canopies as well. Again, the builder is very helpful and willing to modify to the buyers requirements and his warranty makes interesting reading.
Our water maker is also 12v DC and is run every other day - we run 900watts of solar. Another buy that we have carried with us from boat to boat is our Honda powered dive compressor - incredibly useful.
Last question for you - lightning protection arrangement?
Sadly and happily we have accepted an offer on our boat from a dive company in the Red Sea so we are about to start our hunt for our next boat.
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Old 19-03-2015, 09:00   #64
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

That Ocean Craft is wild. Very cool design. I've already ordered my dinghy, but it's good to know about this manufacturer.

Nice heads-up on the grime with the yellow sail covers. I'm already bracing for the dirt on the yellow seat cushions. You have to pick your poison when it comes to cushions: Go light and watch them get dirty, or go dark and feel them heat up.

What do you recommend for lightning protection? I've never been hit before, but know several people who have. Some got lucky, some lost tens of thousands in electronics. Seems like dumb luck, whether you get zapped and how bad the outcome is. I know some boats put lightning protection on to minimize damage, and some refrain out of fear of attracting more hits.

Maybe I should see who has a lightning rod on their mast and anchor as close to them as possible?

Otherwise, my plan is to have insurance. And to stay away from the mast in a thunderstorm.

Best of luck on your hunt. Lots of great boats out there to choose from.
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Old 19-03-2015, 10:51   #65
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Hi Hugh,
Having been struck by lightning in Durban harbour in 1994 we invested in a lightning dissipator that we bought from Canada. It is a stainless steel rod topped with what looks like a toilet brush, also made of stainless. These were developed in Canada for the electrical distribution towers/poles and which have been adopted by other countries as well. This mounts on the mast head and is the highest item on the boat, above the VHF. They come in different sizes. Apparently, these ensure the electrical potential at the mast head is the same as the surrounding air, thereby avoiding a strike. We have used these for over 20 years now. We have been in achorages where we have had the highest mast and others have been struck whilst we have not been.
On the subject of yellow covers, have you thought about Scotchguarding the Sunbrella (or similar)? If we were not selling we were going to try this route.
What dinghy did you opt for and which engine? We stick to two strokes despite the obvious fuel benefits of a four stroke. We do this as we tend to cruise in remote area's and the 2S's are so easy to maintain and buy parts for. I guess if we were to stick to first world cruising we would change to 4S's for the economy. We sold an old Yamaha 30hp two years ago that was still performing well - it was bought second hand in 1981.
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Old 19-03-2015, 11:07   #66
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

I'm getting an AB ALX 13' with a 40hp Yamaha. It's an aluminum hulled RIB with a fiberglass console and seat. One thing I love about it is the massive bow locker. The gas tank goes in the bow, as well as the anchor, chain, and rode. Leaves two seats for storage.
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Old 19-03-2015, 11:45   #67
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

AB's are excellent - had one before our Ocean Craft.
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Old 19-03-2015, 12:08   #68
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Hi Hugh, I noticed the max horsepower recommended for the ALX 13 is 30hp, but you're opting for 40hp. Is this decision based on experience with recommendations being too little? Thanks for the post. Great topic.

John
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Old 19-03-2015, 15:41   #69
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

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Originally Posted by johngrif View Post
Hi Hugh, I noticed the max horsepower recommended for the ALX 13 is 30hp, but you're opting for 40hp. Is this decision based on experience with recommendations being too little? Thanks for the post. Great topic.

John
The 40hp Yamaha weighs the same as the 30. So the balance is the same. You just have more power if you need it.

I'm going to re-prop the outboard for more low end. Probably go with a 4-blade aluminum prop with an inch or more less pitch. So it'll jump out of the water and sacrifice some top end. Better for planing in a hurry and better for towing skiers/wakeboarders.
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Old 19-03-2015, 16:01   #70
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Ok, got it. More power is always good in my book.

Thanks, John
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Old 20-03-2015, 18:36   #71
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Hi Hugh - been meaning to ask you - did you look at the Knysna 500 at all and if you did what would you consider superior on the St Francis. I looked at both at the Miami show and found the finish on the Knysna superior however am concerned about the bridge deck height.
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Old 20-03-2015, 18:58   #72
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

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Originally Posted by owenrms View Post
Hi Hugh - been meaning to ask you - did you look at the Knysna 500 at all and if you did what would you consider superior on the St Francis. I looked at both at the Miami show and found the finish on the Knysna superior however am concerned about the bridge deck height.
I did. I looked at it at this Miami show and also at the last Annapolis show. I love the boat. The hull (I believe I'm remembering this correctly) is a modification of the St. Francis 48 hull molds. I think St. Francis sold them the molds for their previous hulls, and Knysa modified those a bit for the 500. I could have something mixed up here, as I believe two yards are currently building with previous St. Francis molds.

The finish is more modern and sexier on the Knysa. The St. Francis feels more like a boat, where the Knysa feels like a yacht. Some might prefer the latter. I prefer the boat feel.

I wasn't wild about the davit on the Knysa. In Annapolis, the davit there was already cracking. What was strange about this is that I saw the design, expected to see cracks at the base, and when I knelt down, sure enough there they were. I'm really surprised they went with this design, and if they could change that (or if you could modify it post-production), it would make it a better choice.

The in-boom davit system works, but it isn't ideal. I'm electing not to do this system on my St. Francis, after trying it out on the previous St. Francis 50. Not sure if Knysa can build an alternative, but that would be important to me.

Here's the sort of pro and con that I found with the Knysa (first let me say that I would be happy as a clam with a Knysa, and I would sail it around the world gladly, and that these are just my opinions after crawling through both boats):

The helm situation is much sexier on the Knysa, but not as functional. Just like with the davit, you have something that looks great, but just works better on the St. Francis. For the extended coachroof on the Knysa, which again, is gorgeous, you don't get a much lower boom or more sail area or a lower center of force. Because you have the pop-up bimini to still clear.

So the helm isn't as protected and isn't as comfortable. Same for the port side, where crew spent time on our delivery on the last St. Francis 50, and they were equally protected in the rain, and able to see forward through the fixed glass.

One boat places primacy on function, and the other places primacy on form. The St. Francis hull mold is newer (I believe the deck clearance is higher as a result, and the boat is better balanced, with more weight forward and more floatation aft). Also: I don't know how custom the Knysa is, but the St. Francis is built to order. I never got deep enough into my inquiry on the Knysa to get a final delivered cost, so I can't compare there.

Both are fine boats. I spent a lot of time looking at the Knysa. I went with the girl who wasn't quite as sexy but that I knew would be with me for many years without letting me down.
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Old 20-03-2015, 19:10   #73
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

The skipper of Suliere comments on the Lithium battery installation...

On Suliere with the Lithium battery system of 800 amps we can safely use 700 amps without voltage drop. We can charge at the very high rate of about 160 amp per hour from our 200 amp charger- the batteries can take up to 800 amps.

In addition we have 1.2kw of solar panels. We tend to use about 350 amp/hours a day so the solar panels take care of most of our power needs. In addition we have 350 amp alternators on each engine and these charge the batteries even faster than the battery charger. We can normally shove in over 400 amps per hour if both engines are on but seldom need to to do that.

Min essence power management on Suliere is a dream. Its no hassle and we use as much as we require without restriction. No more having charging rates dropping off to charge for long periods, no more voltage dropping, no more having to ration power.

We also shave off 300 pounds of weight and take up much less room.

We have a helm switch to switch off the alternator source if we do not need its power.
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Old 20-03-2015, 19:25   #74
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

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Originally Posted by TheSailingChannel.TV View Post
The skipper of Suliere comments on the Lithium battery installation...

On Suliere with the Lithium battery system of 800 amps we can safely use 700 amps without voltage drop. We can charge at the very high rate of about 160 amp per hour from our 200 amp charger- the batteries can take up to 800 amps.

In addition we have 1.2kw of solar panels. We tend to use about 350 amp/hours a day so the solar panels take care of most of our power needs. In addition we have 350 amp alternators on each engine and these charge the batteries even faster than the battery charger. We can normally shove in over 400 amps per hour if both engines are on but seldom need to to do that.

Min essence power management on Suliere is a dream. Its no hassle and we use as much as we require without restriction. No more having charging rates dropping off to charge for long periods, no more voltage dropping, no more having to ration power.

We also shave off 300 pounds of weight and take up much less room.

We have a helm switch to switch off the alternator source if we do not need its power.
Fantastic info. Thanks, Paul. I watched the video of the installation. Looks great.

I don't think I'll have quite as much solar as you (probably more like 980W). And I'm not sure what the difference in draw will be with a 24V system at 800AH rather than a 12V at 800AH (correct me if I'm wrong in assuming your bank is a 12V bank). But hearing that you can use 87% of your amps without a voltage drop is just insane.

What brand battery did you go with? I don't dare hope that the Mastervolts will be able to use 87% of their load capacity. I was dreaming of 70%!

I'll be sure to report on my results. You have some impressive specs there, with those massive alternators and that beefy battery charger. My hope is that my power draw won't be too great, so I can go for days without running any motors. But we'll see.
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Old 20-03-2015, 22:01   #75
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Re: St. Francis 50: "Wayfinder"

Not expert but I believe 800ah 12V lithium would be equilivant to 400ah 24V lithium and more than adequate. ( same number and weight of Li batteries). Apart from double cost 800ah at 24V to be an enormous amount of power.

Based on a couple of vessels I know comfortably cruising with only 400ah instead of 800-1000ah lead acids.

TheSaillingChannel.TV is a different person to Paul, the skipper of Sulaire the ST Francis in the videos.

cheers
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