NAC-3 B&G Autopilot Computer Installed

…The B&G NAC-3 Autopilot Computer…

Today was day three of our rebuild / installation work and we spent all day on the NAC-3 autopilot computer installation. This required making all the connections in the sail locker while crouched in a seated position leaning back at about a 45 degree angle. The sail locker is under the cockpit seats and to get into this space you first have to empty the locker. Then once all the stuff is out and scattered around the cockpit, you climb over that stuff and drop down into the locker which is about 7 feet long, 4 feet wide and maybe 4.5 feet deep. The floor slopes downward because you are against the hull. Each time I go inside, I realize I forgot some necessary tool. Not to worry, that is where Radeen jumps in. She is a great assistant grabbing tools and providing uplifting moral support. We are doing all this install work together, as a team, and that way we both know exactly how it is built. Today we were excited when we made the final Tee connection for the GPS drop and the rudder reference and the compass9.

Setting up the tees and preparing for backbone in the sail locker

Our next task is to set up the entire NMEA 2000 backbone which will start at the top of the mast, come down the mast to the mast base below the floor outside the head where it will connect to the wind anemometer and the radar. Then it will run under the head floor and down the port side to the nav desk where it will pick up the AIS transceiver and the Triton2 display. From there, it will run under the floor to the quarterberth floor and pick up the DST 800, the depth, speed, temperature sensor. Then off into the engine room and around the corner into the sail locker connecting to the four Tees at the NAC-3. Next, it will go under the cockpit floor and turn up into the helm guard tubing and run up to the NavPod at the helm. There it will tee into the Zeus2 Chartplotter and radar screen, the Autopilot Controller and one more Triton2 display head. The backbone will then terminate in the navPod. The other resister that terminates the backbone will be in the mast head built into the wind anemometer. This backbone run should be the easiest part because we pulled chase ropes when we pulled out all the old wires. That was a smart move. So, onward we push as we build the backbone and learn about the system.

Here are some photos….

The computer and all the connections
Notice the drawing is backwards with the screws on the top….errror.
My wiring is correct and the part is correct, I need to alert B&G.

I wired the NAC-3 upside down as it was easier to make the connections.

There it is, all connected. the power, drive ram, ground wire and NMEA 2000

The diagram on the NAC-3 door

Working in the sail locker on my back with NAC-3 on my knee

Once wired, we mounted it to the wall where the old ACP-1 was located

This is a NMEA 2000 Maretron Wire bundle, pairs are shielded

We had to cut one end of the GPS feed and install our own NMEA 2000 end

4 wires with one screen, Red/Black & White/Blue + Screen

The end fitting installed

The end was needed to make our GPS connection to the network.

We have never built a NMEA 2000 network before, but now we can see WHY it was developed. Using a backbone design and using Tees to connect devices to the network, the network topology is really simple. You can tee in up to 50 devices on one NMEA 2000 backbone. We will have 13 devices total, so we are nowhere near capacity of this network. We are learning a lot and it is exciting to be setting up and installing all this new gear. Again, thanks goes to Colin Mack of Mack Sails. We bought everything from him and we would do it again in a heartbeat.  He is so great to deal with and he is very helpful.  Take a look at some of their work here www,MackSails.com Thank you, Colin!

B&G Triton2 Install Day 2

…The new Digital Rudder Reference…

Our second day of installing our new B&G Triton2 network is going well. Today, during the rain, we worked down below as working in the sail locker was not an option since it would rain into there and we did not want to deal with that. So we worked below decks and installed the digital rudder reference which uses a push rod to read the rotation and angle of the rudder. This information is sent to the autopilot computer, which then uses that information to help steer the boat.

The Compass 9 aft the qtr berth in the stern

Along with that, we installed the new nine-axis autopilot compass 9. In the words of B&G: With NMEA 2000® output, the Precision-9 Compass provides heading, Rate Of Turn (ROT), roll and pitch information to connected equipment including autopilot, instruments, radar, multifunction displays, and other navigational systems. So, with these two new digital tools, the new NAC-3 autopilot computer will really be smart. What we have seen with our old pilot is that a B&G autopilot computer learns the sea state and wave patterns and then, after a few minutes, the pilot will anticipate the waves and make the needed helm adjustments to keep on track. These pilots are so smart and we love sailing with ours. We actually sail 99% of the time under autopilot because it can do a much better job than we can for hours on end, day after day after day!

Pettit Trinidad 75 Bottom Paint

While we were working on our electronics installations, the Hinckley Yard Employee painted the bottom with our supplied Pettit Trinidad 75. This is the BEST PAINT money can buy! It is expensive because it has 75% cuprous oxide which means it is HEAVY and it is EXPENSIVE, copper is pricey. We bought this via our Port Supply account and it still was $260.00 per gallon, we needed two gallon$$$.

The inboard position of Crew Triton2

The next task was placing the new Triton2 crew position cockpit display. Back in 1994 when this Island Packet 35 was shipped to Rock Hall MM for the 1993 Annapolis Boat Show, the dealer installed the Wind, Speed and Depth instruments in the front starboard side of the cockpit. This is an easy place to install instruments because the factory designed an open area here with a cabinet and a door giving easy access to this cavity. The problem is that every crew member that sits on starboard will eventually lean back against these three instruments making them impossible to see, plus it is hard on the instrument glazing.
The better place to install these is over the companionway but that makes for a difficult wiring run.

We decided to place one Triton2 in the same position but keep it as far inboard as possible. This will allow for the crew to lean back into this corner and NOT be on the face of the instrument. It will also allow for easy wire runs. We wanted one in this position because the Triton2 screens have 15+ screens of information and the crew will be scrolling through various screens.  This keeps the instrument in easy reach, unlike over the companionway, so we placed it here.

Using our dremel to cut the cockpit fiberglass

Using our onboard dremel tool and cordless drill, we first taped the template positioning the instrument into the lines of the cockpit. At first we wanted to install it plumb and vertical, but when we set it up like that, it looked odd. So we aligned the instrument to fit better into the lines of the cockpit. It worked.

We also made sure it was not too high like our last instruments which caused a problem when you would brace your palm onto the corner of the cockpit. Over all, we took out time laying this out, then the drilling and cutting was a breeze. It was far easier to cut into this fiberglass that it was to cut the 3/4″ plywood at the nav desk. So, our Triton2 crew position instrument is installed. Looking good.

Here are a few more photos of the process. Thanks for following along.

Island Spirit with her new Pettit Trinidad 75 Bottom Paint

We made sure this instrument was NOT too high
This allows us to brace ourselves against this corner.

After drilling 1/2″ corner holes, we cut out the square

These front tiny bezels of the Triton2 are very hard to separate

The bezel provides cover for the corner screws that install the Triton2

There it is, the finished install, looking good.
Pay no attention to the blue tape, we will fiberglass the holes

The corner position allows for bracing against this area

The finished install. Now we need to fiberglass
the old holes and gelcoat that area

Right NOW, we are ahead of schedule as we had this all planned for next week, the week of Nov 7. Here it is Nov 2 and it is the end of Day 2 installation and we are moving along. Tomorrow, if it is not raining, we will install the NAC-3 autopilot computer in the sail locker and connect the Type 1 Drive Ram, the 12 Volt Power and ground, the Rudder Reference, Compass9 and the GPS. Fun Fun Fun…..

B&G Triton2 Install Day 1

…There it is, our NEW B&G Triton2 Display…

Today, after 3 days of uninstalling all our original B and G gear, we cut in and installed our first Triton2 display head at the navigation desk. What a challenging install with only 1/4″ overlap of the instrument to the cutout, so there was no room for any mistakes. Using a Dremel tool, we cut it in and we are happy with the first install.

Radeen checks out the pool at Turtle Reef Club

First allow me to describe our days. We are staying in a timeshare condo which is about 12 miles away on Hutchinson Island near Jensen Beach, FL. We drive into the Hinckley Stuart Boat yard in the morning any time between 7 to 9 am and begin the day. The boat, on the “hard” is totally torn apart with the v-berth full of boxes, bags and radar parts. The galley counter top is covered with all the removed gear and all the old wiring. The quarter berth is torn apart so we can have access to the stern for running wires and pulling chase lines for new wires. The sofas are stacked up with tools and gear as we try to work around all this stuff while not blocking access to any locker or cabinet where we need to work. This is why we never stay aboard while commissioning the boat. The boat is a wreck and it is really a challenge to work there, much less live there.

This is our galley counter top with all the old gear

Since the boat is on the “hard” which means in a parking lot and the deck is 8 feet above the parking lot, we park our car under the boat and then carry all tools, boxes, clothing and gear up an 8 foot ladder leaned against the stern to climb into the cockpit. Then we haul the gear down into the boat. As for the cockpit, oh, yeah, that too is a wreck because the entire sail locker has been emptied to the cockpit so that we can pull wires and install the new NAC-3 autopilot computer and pilot sensors.

Radeen keeps us focused and on task
and with a positive attitude!

Radeen really handles this chaos far better than I do, (Hayden) because I cannot stand when things are out of order. It simply stresses me out, I like every thing lined up and in perfect order, so to be working daily in this chaotic setting is a real challenge. Thank goodness Radeen helps keep our perspective focused on the job and the fun. Yes, perspective…we are very lucky and very fortunate to be setting up our boat for the third time. We are refitting her  with the latest digital navigation gear with the plans and the dreams of sailing south beyond the Bahamas this year and into the Caribbean Sea. That is the goal and THAT is why we are doing refit number three.

Thank you for following along, we are happy to share the dream and the adventure…

That is the new B and G gear in boxes loaded on the nav desk.

Here we go, let’s cut in a Triton2 display head

The owner’s manual on how to use this gear
Our beach at the condo, Turtle Reef Club
Radeen walking around the pool, it is 80 degrees, warm and windy on Nov 1.
Look how easy NMEA 2000 connections are to use.
These tees connect individual devices to the backbone.

The tee on the left is a 12 volt power feed.
The other tees will go to the nav desk Triton2 and the AIS radio.
This is the new NAC-3 Autopilot Computer
It will learn wave patterns and steer to wind angles
and steer to navigation points.
It is guided by GPS, a Rudder Reference and a Digital 9 axis Compass.
B&G makes the BEST autopilots!
What a FUN lunch! We finally met Carol and Dick, owners of IP44 GUSTO.
They have lived aboard for 20 years and sail to the Bahamas every year.

Here we go, let’s cut this display into the panel at the nav desk.

I taped plastic over all electronics inside and outside to protect them from sawdust.

Drill the corners with a 1/2″ bit.

Cut out the opening with a Dremel and also use it to sand the edges.

Remove the very, very thin bezel to access the mounting screws.

Snap on the screw covering bezel and there you go.
Installation complete!
This is our salon. The table and sofas are covered with tools and boxes.
This is our V-berth, our bed. It is filled with radar and the wind sensor and other stuff.

The boat looking in from the steps, ugh. Note the dehumidifier over the sink. It works great!
Ahhhhh, the reward on the drive home. Always keep a spoon in your car 🙂

Tomorrow we hope to install the next Triton2 into the forward bulkhead for the crew’s view. Then we’ll move into the sail locker and install the NAC-3 autopilot and the then into the quarter-berth to install the compass and the rudder reference. We are ahead of schedule, as we thought this would not start until NEXT week, so we are feeling good. The boat will be launched Friday or Saturday, then we move aboard and the mast work begins….for now, Day One of installation was a total success!