Sunday, August 12, 2012

Recent History of Empress - Preparation for Long-Distance Cruising - Part 1

After taking off-shore delivery of Empress in June of 2007, the Penhunes returned her to the Newport Harbor Shipyard to begin preparations for long-distance cruising to the Pacific Northwest.  A bow thruster was installed to make Empress more maneuverable at low speeds in winds and currents.  The location of the thruster in the bow of Empress is shown in the photo below.

Location of New Bow Thruster

The thruster is powered by a 32-volt DC motor and has two four-bladed propellers, one of which is shown in the photo below.

One of the Four-Bladed Thruster Propellers

After completion of repairs at the Newport Harbor Shipyard, Empress was returned to a slip in the Cabrillo Marina in San Pedro at the north-west end of Los Angeles - Long Beach harbor, just below Palos Verdes.  After discussion with Patrick Murray of All Purpose Marine Diesel, the Penhunes decided to have him completely rebuild the Detroit V-12 turbocharged main engines, probably for the first time since they were installed by Richardson Boats in 1971.  The photo below shows the port engine with the turbochargers, manifolds, intercoolers, positive-displacement blowers, and cylinder heads removed.

Port Engine During Complete Rebuild

To provide silent 120/240-Volt AC power when moored at night, two 3.5 kW inverters and a third 32-Volt battery bank were installed. The inverters, the load-balancing autotransformer, and the control and monitoring panel are shown in the photo below.

Two 3.5 kW Inverters Provide Silent 120/240 Volt AC Power

Also, to extend the cruising range of Empress, three 120-Amp 32-Volt generators were installed, two on the port main engine and one on the starboard main engine.  These generators power the inverters and the 32-Volt house load, allowing Empress to cruise without running a generator, thus saving about 25 gallons of fuel per day.

A 25-gallon-per-hour watermaker also was installed along with a domestic water heater that is warmed by both the starboard main engine freshwater cooling circulation and by 120-Volt AC.  The watermaker membrane, pressure control, and pressure and flow gauges are shown in the photo below.

25 Gallon per hour Watermaker

Two additional large Fireboy automatic fire suppression tanks also were installed in the engine room.  The photo below shows one of them.

Fireboy Automatic Fire Suppression System