Spun Prop

Most people who know what a prop is in relation to a boat would assume that a prop spinning is a good thing, but alas this is not the case. Yesterday morning, we were picking up anchor under motor power to move to a more protected anchorage on the other side of the harbour. We retrieved the anchor without incident, but about half way across the harbour, the starboard engine started to race away and over rev.

Amy was at the helm and she quickly throttled back to avoid damaging the actual power-head by red lining the engine. It was clear though that the vulcanization that holds the outer prop to the internal spline shaft had let go. Shitty death!!!

Of course when we swapped out our engines in 2007, we got rid of our spare props as they weren’t compatible with the newer Yamaha 9.9’s. This means we are now a one engine boat until next Wednesday when Reggie brings us in a spare prop from the states. it’s not  the end of the world, but our boat is woefully under-powered with only one engine, especially in a real to weather environment. Oh well, that’s life on board, what are you going to do?

In other news, I’ve had a couple of emails requesting more info on how we are charging our USB devices. For those of you over 50 and potentially not in the know (Dad), the USB devices range from our smart phones, to our our tablets to our alarm clock. All of these devices were designed to charge via USB cable. The units are all sold with an AC “wall-wart” style adapter to ensure fast charging, but on a DC current only boat, this doesn’t work real well.

The alternative is to get a DC USB port hub and wire it directly to the 12 volt power supply. This works ok, but the USB cord that comes with most devices will only charge in “float” mode (i.e. slow ass whale shit) when not connected to the AC power supply. To get around this, I constructed a custom USB power cable that puts power in not only on cable 1, but also on cable 3 as well, which in turn tricks the USB device into thinking it is receiving power from the AC wall-wart.

I’d read about this online and constructing the cable was time consuming, but not beyond the work of a competent solder iron operator. Having said that, I found a company on Amazon that sells the same thing, professionally made for under $10 bucks and I ordered and received two of their cables this past Friday. They work as well as mine and the build quality is better than I was able to achieve, so unless you like to screw around with electronics at the soldering level, I’d recommend buying from these guys and here is the link.

As an aside, realize that this method renders the cable "charge" only. you cannot use this cable as an MPT bridge to a laptop. For that, use your stock cable provided with the device.

Anyhow, for those interested, here is the link to the Blue Seas USB, two port, direct DC adapter that we use on Dream Catcher. We have four of these in use, scattered around the boat and I have had no problems with them over the last 9 months we have been using them.

More to follow, end of line….

Comments (6) -

Hi Tom,

I was going to say something ugly about your motors not charging any batteries and reminding you that you do live on a sailboat, with good sails on it, but I'll hold off and do that in a month or so when we get down there.  It's much more fun to give you sh#t in person!  

We were hauled last week and replaced the cutlass bearing, shaft and coupler and we painted the bottom so we're now ready to go.   We're having dinner with Pam and Oliver tonight and just heard from Tiger Sea who is also heading South so we're getting excited!

If you have any requests from stateside let us know soon...


Thanks Beotch, talk to you soon.


Charging USB devices?? Gee, seems like with inverters and that  honda 2000i generator you have this should not be a big problem.  Hell, just go ask Joshua Slocum.  And you spent how much for a Honda 2000i? You can run your 110vac battery charger on that right right? Just like being at home right?  Just plug shit in.  With all that stuff and the proper solar and wind generation systems you have what am I missing here?  Maybe I'm just brain dead and if I am please be kind enough to help me out and explain why with all the power generation systems you have, why is charging a "usb" device a problem (or should I say in the PC vernacular an "issue")?  Geezzzzzzz. Make a passage for a few thousand miles with no gps. no weather radio and only paper charts, a sextant and a nautical almanac. Then we'll talk. Geeezzzzzzzzz  you younguns.


There was a review (by Richard Bronosky) of the BlueSeas USB you linked to above.  It appears to me that he did the same thing to the USB socket instead of the cable you fabricated.  Except he soldered the 2 and 3 pins together.  Would that do the same thing as your (or the $10) cable?


   You are correct, soldering pins 2 and 3 would get you to the same place.


   Charging a USB device is problematic due to the nature of the latest generation of smart devices coming on line. Of course you could turn on the generator or the inverter, but both of these options would be exceptionally wasteful when we're talking about devices that charge at 5 volts and 2.1 amps. Just the loss in going from DC to AC and back to DC would cost you almost 10 times more in transitional loss than what you are actually using in the smart device.

   I only pointed out our current solution as others will undoubtedly be running into the same issue when trying to utilize "fast" charging capabilities of modern phones and tablets.

   Based on your comments as to why we'd worry about this, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that perhaps you are not among the crowd who has embraced these technologies. Good for you, but to each is own.


p.s. - BodhiWeasel says Joshua who?

Thanks Tomilo

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