Sunday, 8 October 2017

Dunstaffnage Visit 1

Hi everyone,
We have just returned from a long weekend visiting Zen Again.  On Wednesday night we travelled north from London to Glasgow on the Caledonian Sleeper.  On Thursday morning we continued by coach to Dunstaffnage.

Before leaving Zen Again last month we prepared her for haul-out and de-rigging.  When we arrived she was ashore with the rig neatly laid out alongside.

Zen Again ashore

Rig awaiting work
We spent Thursday afternoon installing a replacement for our old Raymarine ST40 log/depth instrument.  We installed an Airmar DST800 "triducer" which measures boat speed, water depth and water temperature.  Raymarine, Garmin and Simrad all appear to use this unit which can be bought with an NMEA2000 interface.

The yard staff had already removed the old transducers from the hull.  We removed the old ST40 display and the wiring to the old transducers, then fed through the cable from the DST800 and connected it into our NMEA2000 network.

Next we removed our very old Garmin GPSmap450 from the cockpit and replaced it with the newer Garmin GPSmap451 from the navstation.  Rearranging the cabling took a little while but this eliminated SeaTalk and NMEA0183 from everywhere except the autopilots.  And we were left with a fully functioning NMEA2000 network connecting AIS, triducer, chart plotter and VHF.  Sooooo much neater than NMEA0183!!!

Setting up the GPSmap451 to display boat speed, water depth, COG and SOG was easy.  That will be our main cockpit display instrument.  We'll be chart plotting on our iPads using our Vesper XB8000 AIS's WiFi hotspot.  The AIS is now the heart of our electronics system with NMEA2000 and WiFi feeding and distributing data.  Simple and effective.

View of Oban from the northern end of the harbour
We were very pleased with sorting out the electronics in a single afternoon.  We took a taxi into Oban where we checked-in to Corran House, our accommodation for the weekend.  Below the hostel is a nice cosy pub Markie Dan's.  Highly recommended and I especially enjoyed their Crofter's Platter (a Scottish Ploughmans').

Crofer's Platter
On Friday morning we took the bus to the marina.  We stopped for a minute in the marina office and while there a DHL delivery man arrived with our new heater.  Amazing coincidence.  We spent the day installing our Dickinson P9000 heater.

The simplest part was mounting the heater itself at the forward end of the saloon on the port side.  This located it under the hole in the coachroof once used for the chimney of a solid fuel heater - when the boat was Japanese and named Shirahae.  Since then there has been a mushroom vent filling the hole.  Back in 2011 while in Darwin we replaced the headlining and the new headliner had no hole for a chimney.

To fit the chimney we had to take down the Laminex headliner and cut the hole for the chimney.  Then back up with the headliner and fit the P9000's flue cap.  Finally we offered up the chimney pipe and found it was exactly the right length.  More happy coincidence!

Dickinson Heater showing chimney 
Dickinson Heater detail
We had previously met with the gas fitter who will extend our gas system to supply the heater.  Hopefully that will be done in time for our next visit when it will be considerably colder.  After a full day working aboard we returned to the hostel and had a quiet evening with a fish and chips take-away dinner.

We spent Saturday morning tidying up the boat and making her ready for winter.  The yard mechanic had winterised the engine when Zen Again was hauled out.  We went through the boat making sure all clothes, towels etc were stowed in sealed boxes or bags, all five low-power electric "tube" heaters were safely placed and working, and all tools oiled and stowed.

View of Oban from the ferry dock
View of Oban from southern end of the harbour
It was great spending a few short days on Zen Again.  And great to get so many jobs done.  We enjoyed exploring central Oban too.  On Saturday evening we took the coach south to Glasgow, stayed in an airport hotel overnight then flew south to Heathrow on Sunday morning.

Preparations for replacement of our standing rigging and main furler are now in place with Owen Sails.  They will also be tidying up our sails and boombag over the winter.


  1. Glad that you have enjoyed your boat ride to Zen! Do you have any idea where I could buy a Catamaran?

  2. Hi Both, Good to read about your highly succesful weekend on Zenagain. We loved seeing the pictures of Oban having spent time there on our boat and holidays in recent years. All the best A&G

    1. Hi Anne, Sorry for not noticing your comment earlier. Hope you're well. Info on more recent visits posted today.

  3. Hi! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing! yacht design studio

    1. Hi Kristina, Thanks for your comment. Hope your room mate enjoys our blog too.

  4. This post really very much informative in short lines. keep it up for your great work!

    Yacht Hire in Goa
    Overnight Stay in Goa