Offshore Yachting : October November 2007
TECHNICAL 64 | offshore Blue Robinson talks to the Olectric and Central Coast Hydraulics teams about re-sale rams and pre-loved PLCs After chatting with Guy Oliver and Greg Waters in Sydney about advice to owners of new and not so new canting keel boats, the advice from 'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' came to mind - Don't Panic! If you are the proud owner of a new or "pre-loved" canting keel yacht, and looking forward to sailing at warp speed, then we give you 'The Glitchfinder's Guide to the Gadgetry' with due apologies to Douglas Adams. Guy Oliver from Olectric Systems advises: "Every time there is a change of boat crew it is vital to have the guys who are taking over educated in those areas. Greg and I have just returned from a four day trip to the United States to make some modifications to the R/P 66 Stark Raving Mad, and to give the new skipper a run-through on the full capability of the system. From our experience sailors assume a great deal and have lot of theories about a PLC driven keel/ forward rudder and winch systems. Some are correct, some not. "I guess our starting point is showing the new owners or crew the manuals or disc we supply with every boat when launched. I know manuals are often skimmed through but for the canting keel and automation side, the technical notes that are supplied need to be read - either by the skipper, or if he is too busy getting up to speed with the whole program, by someone on board. If this is not done, you will not get the full benefit of what you've paid for. "We're not trying to teach the crew the technology or how to write the software, only the operation and how to manage the system on your boat. Simply, when the keel goes left, on the panel this light and that light should come on. Check for lights, check for water ingress, check for oil, before making any assumption and hitting the panic button. "If you think there is a problem the systematic approach, would be: a) Don't panic; b) Do you still have power to the control box? c) Check what indicator lights are running; d) Do you have oil? e) Get the crew to press some buttons in the cockpit to see what valves operate. From that information you have a guide on where to look. If these lights are red instead of green, either a power spike or lightning strike has occurred. If that happens, here is the point where the handle goes in to pump the system by hand. Depending on which valve they turn, dictates which way they will move the keel. All this is laid out and labelled, but the crew has to know it BEFORE they go sailing. "We have had panic phone calls telling us the system is not working, and when we ask is there power to the system, they discover the batteries are flat, or the power lead had been pulled out. When you are buying boats with this technology you have to allow for a bit of training. When we have offered the opportunity to educate the crews on the boats systems, they all grab it because it makes their life so much easier. "A simple example is when we advised a crew that if they need to, they can push a valve in by hand using a screwdriver to get oil through it as a back-up technique. This same team didn't know these valves were for the keel, and D O N T P A N I C ! '
December January 2008