Thursday, October 18, 2012

Recent History of Empress - Preparation for Long-Distance Cruising - Part 2

This post continues the description of the modifications that the Penhunes made to Empress in preparation for long-distance cruising in general and for the voyage to Portland, Oregon in particular.

Even though Empress is a three-compartment ship below the main deck (aft cabin, engine room, forward cabins) and is designed to stay afloat with any one compartment taking water, for additional off-shore safety the Penhunes decided to install a 10-person, self-inflating, commercial, canister liferaft on the boat deck accompanied by an  emergency reporting and location beacon (EPIRP).  The liferaft is shown in the photo below.

Ten-Person Liferaft
To aid in safe navigation in crowded waters, such as the Columbia River leading to Portland, a new high-resolution, target-tracking, X-band radar also was installed.  The radome for the new radar antenna was installed on a high mast to raise it above the satellite TV dome, as shown in the photo below.  

High-Resolution Radar Antenna Radome
To display data from the new radar, a new depth sounder, GPS, and a commercial satellite weather-prediction service, new high-resolution color displays were installed on the flybridge and in the pilothouse, as shown in the photos below.  Rudder-angle indicators also were added and a beautiful old Danforth compass that came with the boat was installed in the pilothouse.

Flybridge Instrumentation and Controls

Pilothouse Instrumentation and Controls

After continued problems with the ancient, analog Vosper controller for the stabilizers, the Penhunes had a new Naiad digital control system installed by Chris Fonteneau, who specializes in stabilizers and has worked on Empress many times for several owners.  The performance of the stabilizers with the new Naiad digital control system has been excellent.  The control panel for the stabilizers is shown in the photo below.

Control Panel for Naiad Digital Roll Stabilizer System

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