On board Moonwave we are on an “almost” constant quest of innovations and improvements. This not only manifests itself in the following areas – see related blog entries:
- Hybrid Propulsion System – Moonwave – Torqeedo talking about our new system
- Titanium/ceramic rudder bearings – Moonwave – Draft & Steering System
- Solar Panel Installation – Moonwave – Solar Panels
- Electronics – Moonwave – Electronics Upgrades
- Electrical Installation – Moonwave – Electric Installation – no rocket science
- Daggerboards – Moonwave – New Daggerboards
One of our latest projects was the upgrade of certain functions that were manually “line handled” to hydraulic operation. The main sheet is commanded via a hydraulic ram inside the boom since the beginning. This means that the main sheet can get trimmed via four different buttons at the helm: Slow In, Fast In, Slow out and Fast Out. This allows smooth and accurate trim of the main sail. There is also a sensor on the hydraulic ram that gives us load values on the sheet under sail.
Moonwave’s owner wanted even more buttons to “press” at the helm station. The functions that got “modified” to hydraulics were: Mast Rotation, Mainsail Traveller, Cunningham and “Electro-Cam cam cleats”. The tricky parts of those modifications were the installations of hydraulic rams on the existing structures and without compromising storage space. Also having proper and smart hose and cable runs was not an easy task.
Nick, on the rigging side, and Didier, on the hydraulic side, did a great job on fulfilling our requests. The actual installation had a some hick-ups as the carbon brackets had not been fitted properly from the beginning. Now access space is even more limited and repairs are tough.
With the new hydraulic rams in place – it is now possible to rotate the mast via the push of buttons at the helm station. Same for the main sail traveller, which features additional buttons in the forward cockpit. The Cunningham is also operated via up/down buttons at the base of the mast.
An other challenge of this project were the custom backlit buttons that show all the new functions. The buttons have to be “dimmable” but visible during the day and we wanted them to be multicolor. When the loads exceed preset limits, some of the buttons are flashing red to alert the helmsman/woman and cockpit crew. Those load values come from load cells in the shrouds and the main sheet ram. If either of this values exceeds a preset load – values can be set for different conditions – the main sail will ease to de-power the boat. As well the front sail can be eased/released by using customized cam-cleats that are also hydraulic operated [original items from Ocean Data-system].
We could not find fitting buttons of the shelf that filled our requests. The esthetics of the beautiful helm station was also to be maintained with the new features/buttons. We ended up “customizing” the buttons ourselves. We are pretty stocked with the results. And they are nicely dimmed at night…
To display all those important load values and positioning [main sheet load, shroud load cells, traveller positions, mast rotation angle] – we worked closely with Sailmon. The new Sailmon display in the center of the helm station is fully customizable and they even developed graphs and bars for us to show all the necessary data.
To sum up – Moonwave’s crew still prefers line operated functions – as this “pure” sailing experience corresponds more to our sailing style but it’s a great to see the hydraulic functions working on board. This was a fun challenge to have this working but the value of push button on a gunboat is somehow questionable.
Like on most boats, there is always room for improvement but Moonwave is pretty close to “fulfill” and exceed her high-end design brief ;-) Lots of custom features and the most important part: Moonwave is a PLEASURE and a lot of FUN to SAIL and CRUISE FAR/ST !!!