Sunday, November 20, 2011

Continuing with mechanical systems

Another busy month... The first few pics are of one of the Baylink Ferries fresh out of the shipyard, and now at the fit-out dock at Whidbey Island in Washington state. One of my duties as Ops Manager for Baylink is to help oversee this 18 month refit project on two of our ferries from an operations standpoint. We are about half way there right now with one of our boats almost complete and the other just having entered the shipyard for the tear down. This is a major overhaul on both boats with all new engines, gears, waterjet control systems, interiors, nav electronics, plumbing, wiring, etc... My last two weeks were spent at Whidbey Island and were supposed to culminate in seatrials on the first boat last week. A number of technical glitches kept this from happening, and it now looks like the boat may be ready for trials next week. Service speed for this boat will be in the mid 30s, with a top speed around 40 knots (or about 46 mph). A far cry from the slow and steady little ship we are building. Anyway, on to boat building closer to home... I have continued to fit in a day here and there working on mechanical systems. The engine cooling circuit is completely plumbed now, and I have been working on a few other little engine related projects such as plumbing in an oil change system with a gear pump that will pump oil in or out of both the gearbox and main engine. This makes for quick and easy oil changes. I also plumbed in an oil level site glass and gauge for the main engine. This gives a quick visual read on the engine lube oil level even while the engine is running, and has adjustable high and low level alarm points that ring to a wheelhouse alarm (another nifty gadget from the commercial marine world). I am now putting my attention towards hydraulics. We have two hydraulic systems on board: an engine driven hydraulic pump for the anchor winch (along with whatever else we can come up with to power hydraulically) and a manual system for the steering. Both circuits are relatively simple, but have still required a lot of research and advice in order to specify the parts and do it right the first time around. Initially, I was going to use a spare cylindrical tank that I had lying around for the anchor winch hydraulic reservoir, but after messing around with it a bit I decided to buy a 6 gallon ready made tank that was already plumbed correctly for our needs. It was just the right shape and size and fits in the engine room above the engine driven pump very nicely. If I can get all the adaptors and fittings together this week, we'll spend the Thanksgiving holiday installing all the plumbing for both hydraulic systems (with some time out for dinner with friends on Thursday). Last weekends project was insulating and finishing out the space under the console in the wheelhouse. This area will be home to lots of critical electronics and navigational systems as well as the electrical distribution for the wheelhouse so I finished it out in a way that would make it clean and easy to install and maintain equipment in. As you can see from the pictures, this job definitely falls under the category of "things that I should have done when I had easier access".


  1. I love the way she looks @ twilight with the warm glow coming form the port lights.


  2. Thanks. Insulation, lighting, and a couple of oil filled radiant space heaters will make for a cozy place to work as the days get shorter. Of course we are in California, so I can't complain too much about our winter weather...