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Reviews / 3 Way Fridge Review - camping fridge absorbed gas
« Last post by Monster Mummy on December 20, 2013, 05:33:10 AM »
For years I've envied people who have purchased Waeco fridges etc. but they are price prohibitive for me.  One day I came across a 3 way fridge advertised at one of our local discount stores and I decided to buy it.  The box description left me wondering if I'd really made a good purchase or not given the fridge was an absorbed gas fridge and operates without a compressor, etc. As far as I can figure it has no moving parts and that's got to be good for it's longevity and sturdiness.

When I got the fridge home I plugged it into the mains power.  The fridge cooled down quite well - even icing up the holding plate.  I used the little fridge as a back up for Christmas etc. and it was very handy.  Great for parties where it is portable and can be set on the deck for people to grab drinks.

I then had my little girl's birthday party and decided to hook it up to gas. Well it worked a treat - it was more efficient running on gas. The holding plate really iced up and the fridge did well with all the opening and closing of kids etc to get drinks.

The fridge really came into it's own when we experienced the floods and were without power for just on four days.  There were four families up in our little area and we all had kids. One single dad had scored all his daughters friends on a sleep over only to find out we were flooded in the next morning and isolated.

There were about 8 children and 5-7 adults.  By the end of day two all our house fridges were loosing cold quickly and things were soon to get dire so I pulled out all my camping stuff - everything that ran on 12 volt.  I set up the fridge to run on gas it being the most economical. I've heard something along the lines of 9 grams of gas per hour. We first put everything in that was most cold in the bottom and lest likely items needed regularly.  The milk was kept near the holding plate and other direct perishables. The little fridge did really well and iced up things on top.  With this fridge we were able to comfortably keep our remaining perishable food stored and useful.

This fridge runs silent.  There are no moving parts.  It works by absorption method.  When the fluid inside is heated it reacts and gets cold and moves through to the holding plate that draws the cold out and then the fluid reverts back to fluid and moves back to the heat source. In the case of running on gas it is as small as a pilot light. I can't believe it right - a fridge running on the same power as say your hot water system pilot light.  You can just see it through the viewing hole.  A small amount of radiant heat comes out the back/top vent so keep items clear.  It's not really hot though. 

I am currently using it as a back up fridge on my boat and it is running on mains power inside.  When we leave shore we take it up on deck and hook up to gas.

This fridge is excellent for camping. You can plug it into mains to get it cold before you leave. Pack all your goodies and load it into the car.  Plug it into your car and drive to your campsite.  I don't recommend running this fridge on a car that is not running as it uses far too much of your battery and car batteries are not designed to take deep charge losses and recover.  As soon as you get to your camping location set it up on gas in a well ventilated area under one of your tent awnings - we found under the camp kitchen trestle table pretty good.

You seriously can't go wrong with these little absorbed gas fridges. They are tough and get the job done.  They work best on gas and fully stocked.

I found one of them on Amazon at a great price and I would highly recommend them so have a look to see what I'm talking about

Monster Forum Mummy

Electrical / Solar panel project to Beneteau 393 Yacht
« Last post by Monster Mummy on December 19, 2013, 08:29:07 PM »
After having resolved the issue of the capacity of our house battery bank I decided to then look at solar panel options.

Our boat is set up with a canvas bimini and it would be quite expensive to install a solar panel rack to suspend solar panels off the top of it - in the future we may look at a solid bimini that covers all bases.

In the meantime our options were to find something that we could 'add to' the canvas.  After going to a recent marine show we saw that solar panes now come in the flexible variety.  This was great news.  But after enquiring as to the prices we nearly fell over.

I thought well I'll just see if there are any other flexible solar panel options out there and sure enough there are heaps and readily available with free delivery etc.  I scored these semi-flexible panels that I found on Amazon They were a great deal, fitted the area I needed and was a good 200amp hours capacity and free delivery.

I had to remove the canvas bimini to do some minor repairs and to start the process of making 'lapels' for attaching the solar panels to the bimini.

Thankfully our canvas was the common colour of blue that Sunbrella make in Pacific Blue - again I found the best price using Amazon You can probably find heaps of other colours as you need there as well. Again the free postage is a dream.  I purchased about 10 metres overall - as there were a few other projects I was doing, i.e. sun shade awning, lifeline covers, bbq cover, winch covers and side wind protection breaks.

I purchased a few M4 connectors and some heavy duty solar cable and crimped up the system at home. The panels come with about a metre of cable already.  I cut that cable at about 20inches and attached y pieces and then connected the two panels down into the one line that ran through the top of the deck into the aft cabin where the batteries were.

Down in there I installed a Steca 30/30 charge controller/regulator similar to this one on Amazon

I left room on the battery bed that I made to use a sheet of small angle bracket with all the pre drilled holes in it to mount it near the front corner so I could see the digital display.  I hooked it up to one of the batteries.  I took specific care to not hook up to one of the batteries that had the battery charger on it as sometimes they can confuse each other. This way each reads the 'pond' separately.  See my other article re batteries and house bank set up.

Oh I forgot the lapels for attaching the panels to the roof.  I measured and cut strips that were the ends and the lengths of each of the panels.  Sewing them so the selvedge was tucked away and sewed on Velcro strips to the upper side. The lower side was sewn to the bimini.  Then attach the other half of the Velcro to the edges of the solar panels.  I used self adhesive 1 inch Velcro that I sourced from a marine detailer.

When the panels are laid in their template the top of the lapel is folded over the panel.  This keeps the system flexible and cool.  Cool solar panels are more efficient.  Being mounted on a canvas bimini means cool airflow and these panels are amazingly thin - I'd say 5mm and aluminium so really cool and don't hold heat.

I'll attached pictures to this thread of the lapels.

I hope you enjoyed the article. If you have any questions don't hesitate to post or email.

Monster Mummy

Electrical / New boat teething problems - Beneteau 393 House Battery bank system
« Last post by Monster Mummy on December 19, 2013, 07:43:42 PM »
Never ever ever is buying a boat and taking it for it's first fun overnight holiday is without its complications and the most problematic of all would be an inadequate house battery bank.

We had a lovely sail over to stay for the night at Tangalooma Wrecks just off Moreton Island, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

We laid the anchor with our fabulous windlass (winch for landlubbers) and it was a treat to have some electrical gadgets to use and a far more superior situation than that which we'd become accustomed in our little 24 foot Swarbrick yacht.

We were enjoying a few sunset drinks and I remembered to turn on the anchor light before we forgot. I thought I'd check the battery stated with another of our new gadgets and I saw the dreaded red glow indicating a low charge warning on our house bank.

I immediately checked that the crank battery was isolated as we didn't need a bad problem getting worse by not being able to start the boat when it was time to leave the mooring in the morning.  That being all good I informed the skipper of the issue and that we needed to conserve battery use tonight and not use any indoor lights etc to make sure we had enough power to keep the anchor light on all night so we could be seen but not to worry that we could still drink our wine on the deck and the moonlight was quite nice actually.

I decided to investigate the issue of the house battery bank and took my wine downstairs and started pulling the aft cabin bed apart to find only one lonely battery that made up the house system.  Now this battery looked old but was big N120 size and was a old tech wet sort with the screw tops that meant we needed to maintain the water levels etc.  I would say it was 120 amp hours but we'd not used anywhere near that with what was done that day.  I then dawned on me that was the reason the broker had a battery charger constantly on this house battery.  It was not working very well.  I did the old hydra test and it showed it was ok but that was not what was happening. 

It was time to investigate installing a new house system. 

Time to pull up more of the bed - the cabin is looking messy by this time and by torchlight I'm pondering just what we can fit in, what needs to be reinforced to hold the load and how we're going to go about this.

We fortunately had the whole aft cabin under bed area to utilise for this.  After a few measurements I decided that I could build a new 'bed' for the bank and fit in 3 x 225 amp hour deep cycle batteries.  Because of their weight - these are huge batteries same dimensions as the N120.  I decided to sit the majority of the new bed made out of 12mm marine ply on one of the ribs of the boat - that is where two of the batteries fitted in nicely lengthwise.  I then offset a 3 battery that straddled the middle rib coming off that lengthways rib.

The whole ply was glued, screwed and we made up new ribs for areas not supported with thick chocks of pine that we'd fibre glassed to the bottom.  All in all it was pretty strong.  Now to the problem of making sure these batteries didn't lift off the bed or move sideways etc.

I bounded the edges of the bed with 2 inch right angle brackets - again screwed and glassed to the marine ply.  This stoped sideways movement.  The final thing was to stop lift.  This was done but using one inch threaded rods that went right through the bottom of the ply - lock nutted and glassed in underneath to make sure it was staying put.  these rods came up at the ends of the batteries - 2 for the length ways ones at both ends and two for the singular offset battery.  A 1.5 inch box steel pipe with once inch holes drilled where the rods came up was layed over the batteries - with care not to contact any terminals (look at your layout for deciding how to do the hold downs).  These box pipes then held down with spacers, washers and 1 inch wing nuts.

A bit of paint applied to the glassing underneath and I placed rubber matts between the batteries and the ply for extra grip and to make it look nicer before I placed the batteries into their spots and threaded on the hold downs.

It is a similar set up to how fuel tanks are held down with t bar situation.

All in all the system seems to sit well and the boat is well balanced as the other bedroom on the starboard side has 250 litre water tank.

I hope you enjoyed the article. If you have any questions don't hesitate to post or email.

Monster Mummy

Electrical / Re: Arrgh! more electrical issues
« Last post by Monster Mummy on December 19, 2013, 07:02:27 PM »
I ended up solving the problem.  One of the batteries in the house bank had actually collapsed and was causing issues to the whole system.  When I removed the battery from the line and left just the one house battery and the crank battery (I knew these two were both ok and new) the system worked as it should have done. 

Sometimes the simplest things really are the answer. 

For this reason I now only ever buy batteries all at the same time and from a matched batch.  Any good battery retailer will let you know and be forthcoming and assist you in getting matched batteries from the same batch. 

When batteries are all linked together in a house situation they behave like a 'pond' and any charge going into / out of self levels the pond.

In this old boat I only had 85amp hour batteries - the boat is only 24 foot and only place for a 'house battery bank' was under one of the settees so the option was to use only the smaller size deep cycle battery.

Choice of deep cycle batteries is a whole other story and a few of my other blogs take about the new calcium/calcium technology - but that's another story.

I've found some great deals on batteries online - it is especially convenient when they do free shipping right to your door as these batteries weigh a bit. Follow the below link for this great deal I found on Amazon.

Monster Mummy hopes you've enjoyed this article and feel free to comment.

Monster Mummy
WAGS is every Wednesday - I've even heard it called SAGS - Sail Around Green Island.

Every Wednesday of every year (weather permitting), enthusiastic yachties take the afternoon off work and venture to RQYS for a sail around Green Island, just for the fun of it!
Rearrange your schedule and get on down to the RQ Bar from 12 noon to enter your yacht, or register your interest to sail.
Our WAGS Team will do their best to place visiting sailors on a yacht, however can not guarantee that a position will be available.
Non-members are able to join in with WAGS three (3) times before they are required to become a member of the Squadron.

for more details visit
General Discussion / Brisbane to Keppel 2012
« Last post by Monster Mummy on July 01, 2012, 09:30:45 PM »
Now in its 6th year, the Club Marine Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race continues to grow. B2K is the signature offshore yachting event for the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.

The 348 nautical mile race will start on Friday 3 August at 12 noon just east of Green Island on Brisbane's beautiful Moreton Bay. The yachts will cruise along the shorelines of the world famous Fraser Island before crossing the Tropic of Capricorn bound for Keppel Bay Marina.
Meetups and Group Cruises (cruise in company) / Brisbane to Gladstone 2013
« Last post by Monster Mummy on July 01, 2012, 09:17:49 PM »

In 2013 the 65th edition of the QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race will commence at 1100hours on 29th March. 

From the start, yachts proceed via a bouy off Redcliffe Point  to the North West Channel up to Caloundra and through to Gladstone, a distance of approximately 308 nautical miles. Weather dependent, the first yachts can be entering the Harbour in Gladstone around 7.30am the following morning with the bulk of the fleet finishing late Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday morning.Entrants in the QantasLink Brisbane to Gladstone race for the Courier Mail Cup, one of the oldest perpetual trophies in Australia that has been competed for on a continual basis.Around 300 private and commercial craft gather around the start line and an estimated 60,000 spectators flock to Moreton Bay foreshores each year to see the race start and attend associated events including the Sandgate Bluewater Festival. Many more greet the yacht in Gladstone and attend the Gladstone Harbour Festival.
Sail and Deck Gear Configuration / Sailmakers are gold!
« Last post by Monster Mummy on July 01, 2012, 09:14:41 PM »
Priceless ease of use is all I can say.  When I first purchased my boat I was determined to get a furler as I didn't want to be hanking up sails and wanted a safe single handed sailing experience.

Well this is where the use of a professional sail maker and following his recommendations becomes priceless. 

Not only do these guys know sails, they know boats, they sail professionally and they can recommend best options and things you wouldn't even dare to think possible until a discussion is had with your sail maker.

He asked me what did I want after inspecting my humble boat and I said I wanted safe single handed sailing and that I'd love if we could get a Genoa size sail on a furler.  YIP YEA he said it was possible and he'd build for the shape of my boat to get the best shape and wind performance.

I've now a beautiful furling Genoa that has a beautiful cut to it and the sail maker built in lines that I can see from the cockpit to mark No.2 / No. 3 etc. so I can furl back to the best cut for that size and no guessing.

Well it runs a dream and now 8 years on the sail is still in great condition.  I'm very cautious to keep luffing to a minimum and also to make sure it is furled up well when not in use so as the solar shield strip can do what it was designed to do.

All in all - a great decision that has given me many many years of safe enjoyable sailing.
Electrical / Arrgh! more electrical issues
« Last post by Monster Mummy on July 01, 2012, 09:04:52 PM »
Now this is just getting ridiculous.  The first thing I did when getting my boat was to check over and upgrade the junction box and add a few lights (deck lights) and clearly mark all things with name plates etc.

Now when I fist used to take the boat away we could survive for a week using 12volt DVD to watch movies, phone chargers, anchor lights, cabin lights etc. and all this happily ran off one crank/house battery deep cell and I think was only a meagre 50amp hours.

With a daily alternator charge we were ok for for the term of our holiday - sometimes up to a week.

Now I've done a few modifications - silly me - and I actually got a professional to do it but I'm darned if I get the same usage for the system now.

I've changed the system to have two under bunk 'house' batteries and one crank still near the engine. I've an overflow backflow cut off connecting the crank from the two house + three isolator switches one that is the main to connect the crank battery, one that turns on the house battery and one that in the case of a flat crank will allow house to add to crank.

Also I've an alternator indicator on the new main board as installed that lets me know the alternator is pushing out the right charge.

All used to run really well when first installed. But now it seems the crank needs the back up of the house to get any indication on the alternator as to charge status.

I've brand new battery as crank.  Suspect that one of the house ones has collapsed and is causing the dramas.

Any ideas greatly appreciated.

I hope you enjoyed the article. If you have any questions don't hesitate to post or email.

Monster Mummy
Australia Cruising / Moreton Bay, off Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
« Last post by Monster Mummy on July 01, 2012, 08:13:42 PM »
Moreton Bay has several little islands you can visit and moor up behind for a nice protected lunch and swim. We've one that was an old Leper Colony and has been left as a historically preserved island that you can moor up and tender in and have a walk around as is usually only accessed by charter groups so often you'll find yourself the only people on the island.

One of my favourites for an overnighter is to the really hospitably place of Little Ships Club over at Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island.  Usually on the sail back the next day we do a swim behind Peel Island and then head back to Manly.

Little Ships Club can offer non members pontoon mooring from $45 per night - they have a superb shower block and lovely nice hot showers that area really welcome after a hard sail over.

Moreton Bay is well know for it's light air which is why I had a furling Genoa custom fitted for my boat as more often than not you'll be trying to catch breeze - great if you've a kite or spinnaker.  Moreton is also well know for the quick squalls in summer and as the bay is so shallow the waves have a tendency to really stand up so can give you a bit of a workout on some days.

Some days if itís a bit feisty I love just going out for a bit of quick fast adrenalin sail - well as much as you can get in a caravan cruiser but hey - she's quite a quick line on her actually.

Anyhow - back to the Bay.  Coming out off Brisbane - best moorings can be found in Manly - where all the clubs are - you can also get some government moorings if your lucky operated by the Port.  Best access to get straight out into the bay for good sailing.  Down on the coast you've only the Broadwater - full of boaties and their wakes which don't appeal to me.  It seems to take forever just to get anywhere down in the Broadwater. You need to get out through the spit - to get any decent sailing done and away from the frenzied jet skiers and weekender 16 footers with their load of crab pots that are taller than the boat is long.

So Manly it is - well for me anyhow.  Straight out off there you are pretty much on top of three islands in a row north east of the leeds entrance.  A few hours will have out around the nearest of the three Green Island.  They often have races that go around Green as I would think it would be the nav' strategists dream to get the best course and account for the changes in the bay etc. 

Out further and past Green you head into what we call 'The Paddock' which can be the most serene perfect sailing day sun glistening on the water, dolphins, dugong's and a nice crisp sound of water slicing past or it can be the opposite with every wave a boat length long or bigger and each ride up ends up bow under and no less than three breaks hitting you in the cockpit - these are the days when I look forward to the showers at Dunwich - if I've been stupid enough to be the only yacht in the paddock clearly on the day where the weather report forewarned others but seemed like a bit of fun to me.

North of 'The Paddock' is Moreton Island - BEAUTIFUL place.  I go there for longer breaks in my low impact ecological caravan.  They've sunk old barges just off the beach and now are great wrecks supporting an abundant ecosystem.  Hours of holidays spent taking the tender out and snorkel gear and flopping over into the crisp blue to snorkel amongst the friends of below with that familiar coolness on your skin and tinkly tink in your ears and all the squeals and giggles diffused underwater of kids at summer having fun in the water.

There is quite a nasty current running past the wrecks at Tangalooma.  It is advisable to observe the tide start at one end of the wrecks just before the turn and then you are lazily taken along the wrecks with the current before it gets to it's full strength.  Even the best of swimmers will not be able to get back to the beach from the wrecks at the peak of the current as I see so many mismanaged Japanese snorkers washed down amongst boats trying to get across. 

I tie the tender rope to my foot and off I go - as it is an inflatable when it does have the audacity to try and overtake it doesn't hurt thankfully and easily checked back into line.

A short tender ride or stroll along the beach will have you at Tangalooma Resort.  Or as I call it I'm 'off to town'.  They don't allow boaties there after six at night but there is heaps of fun to be had during the day.  They've three pools along the boardwalk on the way. In summer you may have to sample each on your way to the bar.  The Pina Coladas' are to die for and there is always a good lunch to be had.

Be careful to keep and eye on the weather though as quite often a storm front will come from over the ocean side of the island and as you're on the side that faces West (Brisbane) you don't see it until it's showed its head over the mountain above you so some times it accounts for a very quick run to the tender to get to the boat and let out anchor for the northerly that will drag most boats.

Many boaties are unprepared for the current behind the wrecks and a lot drag and so when there is a storm chaos happens.  I usually let out about six metres and let the chain do all the work on the bottom.  Many times I've been greeted during the midst of a storm with power boaties all heading for home.  While I hold watch shining torch on the tender so they don't run it over as they are quite out of control at the best of times.

Meanwhile the rest of us that survive enjoy a chat later after all the excitement is over.

Further to the south of 'The Paddock' is North and South Stradbroke Island.  The north is where Dunwich is as I've mentioned earlier.  There is also bookable buoy moorings available.  The north island has a taxi and great regular bus service and all amenities.  I thoroughly recommend catching a bus to Point Lookout - surf beach and patrolled beach there.  If youíre a surfie you won't be disappointed.  The pub there Point Lookout Hotel - recently refurbished wouldn't be out of place on Hamilton or Dent Island it is so nice.

Anyhow - all good reasons to live in Brisbane and go sailing.

Monster Mummy
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