Bayfield 29 Refit Planning: The head

One of the issues I currently have with the boat is the toilet, and black water system in general. The current toilet (for those marine purists…I consider the “head” to be the equivalent of the bathroom, not specifically the toilet itself) is a Groco manual, a brand which seems to have a pretty good reputation. But it is pretty old and not quite working as well as it should, and really needs to be rebuilt. As well, the survey pointed out that the waste lines need to be replaced, and since the survey mentioned it, my insurance carrier (BoatUS) is insisting on it. On top of that I was shocked to find out how fast the holding tank (20 gallons?) fills up, although that may have partially been due to over exuberant pumping.

Keeping in mind that I will eventually be living aboard, and that getting pumped out in the winter months could be problematic I was left with a few decisions.

One: Fix the current system, plan on pumping weekly in season, and not using the waste system at all in the winter months. This would include a rebuild of the current head, and a replacement of all the waste lines and the overboard discharge seacock (only used well offshore).

Two: Make some changes to the current system, plan on pumping weekly in season, and not using the waste system at all in the winter months (a little Déjà vu there). I was thinking either an electric macerating toilet or a Lavac system in addition to the waste lines and seacock. There would still be the holding tank limitation, though.

Three: Doing something different. In this case a dry composting toilet. In fact, after a lengthy conversation with the designer of the Nature’s Head toilet at the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis, this is exactly what I decided to do and I bought one there on the spot. While pretty expensive, I believe it would in the end be cheaper than option two, and not all that much more than option one.

There are several advantages to the dry composting toilets (there are a few designs out there that work more or less the same way).

  1. Urine is separated from solids with a clever diverter design which dramatically slows how fast the main tank (built into the toilet) fills, allowing a claimed 60-80 uses between emptying (more if you don’t throw the toilet paper in the tank, although that would generate a whole new set of issues).
  2. There is no offensive odor, although depending on how ventilation is handled there might be a musty peat mossy scent.
  3. There is no need of a holding tank or associated waste plumbing or through-hulls simplifying the system and opening up more space.
  4. With the holding tank gone, I will have room to install a new 20 gallon (more or less) water tank, an important addition for when I can finally leave on some extended traveling.
  5. I don’t have to worry about pump-outs.

Of course, TANSTAAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch). There are drawbacks, too.

  1. It is unfamiliar to most people (women in particular) who might not feel comfortable using it.
  2. While the solids tank should last a long time, the liquids will have to be emptied every day or two. Of course, this can be done in any toilet, or for any anarchists out there, discreetly overboard (warning: while there is little to no environmental risk that I’m aware of to this, and while people pee directly overboard all the time without thinking twice, while within the three mile limit this is illegal).
  3. Eventually the solids tank will have to be emptied. Assuming there hasn’t been any extremely recent “deposits” this shouldn’t be too offensive or difficult a job (I doubt it is worse than a pump-out); but neither will it be pleasant.
  4. While the Nature’s Head guys suggest bagging the stuff (they call it dirt) and throwing it in the trash, it is unlikely that it would be fully composted, and this may very well be illegal (although no more illegal than throwing dirty diapers away). Buying a five gallon “Homer Bucket” from Home Depot, putting the waste in that along with a cup of bleach, and sealing it turns it into “treated” instead of “untreated” waste and may make it all legal. This is unclear; but so far it doesn’t seem to be a big issue. The other option is to store it (perhaps in a vented Homer Bucket) for a year or two, or dump it on a composting pile somewhere until it finishes doing its’ thing, at which point it is excellent fertilizer (it is recommended not to use it on food plants…just in case). If offshore, of course, it is completely legal to just dump it overboard when outside the three mile limit. I don’t think there is any harm no matter the method; but in the interests of not self incriminating I think I’ll keep my choices to myself.
  5. Occasionally there have been known to be issues with flies. This is not universal and there are ways of dealing with the problem; but it does happen.

I’ve actually been thinking of this system for a few years as I was trying to find a way to shoe horn it into my Seafarer 24 (it’s a pretty bulky, and in particular, tall system), so I think I have a pretty good feel for the pluses and minus. It’s new to me, though, so I might not tear out the old tank too fast, or seal up the through-hulls until I feel happy with the system, allowing me to revert to a wet system should I feel like it. Or not. I’m still thinking on it. The good news is that the majority of people I know (on web forums, mostly) who have tried a dry composting head have been extremely pleased with the results. I do have my concerns for the fairer sex, though, as I do like to keep them happy and impressed.

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Bayfield 29 Refit Planning: Anchor gear (Part 2: The Rode)

The gears continue to turn as I further contemplate ground tackle…

While I’m still working through the options on an anchor selection (I’d like to get it done by October 15th in order to take advantage of the Boat Show Specials at Defender), I believe (read: hope) selecting the rode should be a bit less troublesome.

West Marine suggests that 1/8” of line diameter for every nine feet of boat length is appropriate. For a 29 foot boat this suggests a little more than a 3/8” line, or round up to 1/2”. Anchor chain would typically be half the size of the line, or 1/4”.

Rocna recommends 1/4” high test for their Rocna 10 (the recommended size), and 5/16” high test for their Rocna 15. Presumably the other anchors would benefit from similar sizing.

With agreement from two sources, if I go with a recommended size anchor, I’ll probably also go with 1/4” high test, upsizing slightly to 5/16” if I oversize the anchor. Although the larger chain isn’t that much heavier or more expensive and might be worth considering if I even think I might upsize sometime in the future.

How much chain and how much rope on the rode?

The general rule of thumb regards scope is 7:1 for the typical short length of chain followed by rope, and 5:1 for all chain rode. In heavy conditions as much as 10:1 might be called for, and in tight anchorages many people lie to as little as 3:1 ( hopefully all chain). It is important to remember to include the height above the waterline of the anchor roller and the expected tide in the scope computation (10 feet of water + 4 feet of freeboard + 2 feet of expected tide increase would equal 16 feet for the purpose of figuring scope).

I figure that 100′ of chain would allow me to lie to all chain at a 5:1 scope in fifteen feet of water (plus four feet of freeboard). Add 200′ of anchor line and I can anchor at 7:1 in thirty-five feet of water or 5:1 in fifty-five feet, which should cover me in most anchorages I’m likely to find myself in. Any more than that and I’ll have to add another length of line to the rode.

Freeboard: 4 Feet Chain Length 100 Feet
Draft: 3.5 Feet Rope Length 200 Feet
Water Depth Total Depth Scope
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
5 9 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 14 42 56 70 84 98 112 126 140
15 19 57 76 95 114 133 152 171 190
20 24 72 96 120 144 168 192 216 240
25 29 87 116 145 174 203 232 261 290
30 34 102 136 170 204 238 272 306 340
35 39 117 156 195 234 273 312 351 390
40 44 132 176 220 264 308 352 396 440
45 49 147 196 245 294 343 392 441 490
50 54 162 216 270 324 378 432 486 540
55 59 177 236 295 354 413 472 531 590
60 64 192 256 320 384 448 512 576 640
65 69 207 276 345 414 483 552 621 690
70 74 222 296 370 444 518 592 666 740
Anchor Chain Size WLL Weight/ft (pounds) Feet Total Weight (pounds) Price/Ft (Defender 10/8/12) Total Price
Acco G4 1/4” 2,600 0.64 100 64 $2.84 $284.00
Acco G4 5/16” 3,900 0.93 100 93 $3.76 $376.00
Anchor Line Size Average Tensile Strength Weight/ 100 ft (pounds) Feet Total Weight (pounds) Price/Ft (Defender 10/8/12) Total Price
Sampson Pro-set 3 strand 1/2” 6300 6.5 200 13 $0.57 $114.00
Sampson Pro-set 3 strand 5/8” 10000 10.5 200 21 $0.94 $188.00

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Bayfield 29 Refit Planning: Anchor gear (Part 1: The hook)

I’m in serious research mode right now for this winter’s refit of my new (to me) 1982 Bayfield 29. What follows is a kind of crazy mind dump (meaning likely a bit incoherent and free flowing) detailing my thought processes for ground tackle.

There is a tremendous amount of noise out there regarding ground tackle (anchors, rode, and associated links), with lots of conflicting opinions, and web forum ugliness that I normally associate with political and religious discussions. Add in the complication of boats having different shapes, displacements, and windage profiles, the wide variety of bottoms that vary by geographic region, the expected weather one might encounter along one’s route, and the difference in how people actually use their boats, and you come up with a mess of confusion. Just for fun add in all the propaganda from the numerous anchor manufacturers and distributors (all of which seem to claim to be the “best”) and their varied methods of determining an appropriate size anchor (not to mention chain size and length), and it’s enough to cause a guy to bang his head against the wall.

Starting with my personal experience, I will say that I’m not entirely happy with the anchor system on my Bayfield at the moment. Currently she has a Danforth (genuine) 13S (13 lbs) on the bow, with an inadequate rode of maybe 10 feet of 3/8” chain and probably 80 feet of I think 5/8” 3-strand line. The anchor hangs from brackets on the pulpit, which I (and my back) find awkward to deal with. This system is probably adequate for occasional use in the Chesapeake; but I anchor out a lot (when away from my home marina I have yet to take a transient slip, and only rarely pick up a mooring) and plan on eventually going much further afield. I’ve only once had a difficult time setting this anchor in a crowded anchorage in the Rhode River near Annapolis. Although once it set it was fine, even with winds blowing into the 20s from different directions, I was unhappy with the five or six attempts to get it to set. Looking at this system…

Existing Ground Tackle System:

  • The Danforth 13S appears to have 920 lbs of holding power.
  • 3/8” Proof coil G3 chain has a Working Load Limit of 2,650 lbs.
  • 5/8” three strand line (I’m using Samson Pro-Set as a reference, as I’m not sure what the actual manufacturer is) has an Average Tensile Strength of 10,000 lbs.

Sailboat Specs:
According to, the specs for the Bayfield 29 are…

  • LOA: 29.00’/8.84m (this includes the bowsprit…the LOD is probably a little more than 27′)
  • LWL: 21.75’/3.10m Beam: 10.17’/3.10m Draft: 3.50’/1.07m Displacement: 7100 lbs/3221 kgs. (I’m told that virtually all B29s are heavier than this…I’m going to run with 10,000 lbs as a cruising displacement until I learn otherwise).
  • Ballast: 3000 lbs/1361 kgs
  • Hull Type: Long Keel
  • Rig Type: Cutter

I replicated some info, I believe originally sourced from the ABYC, in
the chart below…

Ground Tackle Design Loads
Length Over All (Feet) Boat Beam (Feet) Load on Tackle and Hardware (pounds)
Sail Power 15 Knots 30 Knots 42 Knots 60 Knots
10 4 5 40 160 320 640
15 5 6 60 250 500 1,000
20 7 8 90 360 720 1,440
25 8 9 125 490 980 1,960
30 9 11 175 700 1,400 2,800
35 10 13 225 900 1,800 3,600
40 11 14 300 1,200 2,400 4,800
50 13 16 400 1,600 3,200 6,400
60 15 18 500 2,000 4,000 8,000

The Bayfield’s beam is a little wider than 9′; but she is a little shorter than 30′, so I’m going to work on the assumption that this is close enough. According to this info the Danforth 13S should be  quite satisfactory as a working anchor in winds up to 30 knots. I have a second identical system  below deck if it looks like I’ll be anchoring in more than that (and I have). Frankly, I’d prefer to have the primary hook at least handle the 42 knot load. I’d also like it to nest on a bow roller, and not  hang from the pulpit (which is clumsy to handle). I’ll probably install a windlass at some point, too, which would also take advantage of a bow roller.

Digging through the manufacturer sites, I compared Danforth, Fortress, Rocna, and Manson Supreme anchors (these are the readily available anchors I’m personally most familiar with, having used all of them at one point or another). I wanted to compare the claw variants as well as I have one on my Seafarer 24 and like it a lot, but had trouble finding info I could use for a paper comparison. I took a guess and included one anyhow as the price is very competitive. The Fortress and Danforth listed Holding Power while the Rocna claims that their recommended anchor is good to 50 knots and I worked under the assumption that the very similar looking Manson Supreme  would have similar working limits (they claim they are better than the Rocna; but then Rocna claims they are better than the Supreme!). I was surprised to find that Rocna no longer carries the huge premium price they had in years past, and are now actually a little cheaper than the most equivalent Manson Supreme, possibly due to the substandard (or at least, sub-speced) steel quality that occurred after moving manufacturing to China (a problem that is supposed to have been corrected, I understand).

Anchor comparison
Brand Model Weight Holding Power Defender Price (10/8/12) Notes
Danforth 13S 13 920 Existing Anchor
Danforth 12H 12 1,800 $147.19
Danforth 20H 20 2,500 $206.99
Danforth 35H 35 3,800 $331.19
Fortress FX-16 10 1,250 $197.79
Fortress FX-23 15 2,000 $308.19
Fortress FX-37 21 3,000 $427.79
Rocna 10 22 $227.23 Good to 50kts
Rocna 15 33 $275.99 Storm Size
Manson Supreme 25 25 $239.00 Good to 50kts
Manson Supreme 35 35 $326.59 Storm Size
Lewmar Horizon Claw 22 $40.00 Manu. Recommended size.
Lewmar Horizon Claw 33 $142.00 Working size?

While it looks like we are comparing apples to apples, because of the lack of measuring standards we appear to actually be comparing apples to kiwi fruit or something. While Danforth and Fortress provided holding power numbers (I have no idea how they came up with them, and if the method they used is standardized), no one else felt the need, so I need to make some educated assumptions. It’s also worth noting that holding power alone does not an anchor make, and that each performs differently in different bottoms, and each may handle a change in the direction of pull differently, which is why many people recommend keeping multiple anchor types aboard.

Let’s use the 42 knots on the original chart as our target need for a primary anchor. This would be more than a weekender would need; but when I transition to full time cruising it seems like a reasonable number to work with. I will use the 60 knot range as the target storm anchor size, making the assumption that one size up would be appropriate where holding power is not listed. It is worth noting that the “H” versions (High Tensile) of the Danforth anchor have significant increases in holding power over the “S” (standard) version that currently exists on the boat.

So, our working anchor choices are now:

Working Anchor Comparison
Brand Model Weight Holding Power Defender Price (10/8/12) Notes
Danforth 12H 12 1,800 $147.19
Fortress FX-23 15 2,000 $308.19
Rocna 10 22 $227.23 Good to 50kts
Manson Supreme 25 25 $239.00 Good to 50kts
Lewmar Horizon Claw 33 $142.00 Working size?

And our storm anchor choices are:

Storm Anchor Comparison
Danforth 35H 35 3,800 $331.19
Fortress FX-37 21 3,000 $427.79
Rocna 15 33 $275.99 Storm Size
Manson Supreme 35 35 $326.59 Storm Size

Surprisingly, on the storm anchor chart the Danforth is more expensive than both Rocna and Manson, so given my so-so feelings towards that anchor, and the issue it sometimes has resetting when the boat swings, I’m going to cross it off the Storm list. Since I already have a couple 13S anchors, I’m going to cross it off the Working list as well.

I don’t think I have room to store a Rocna or Manson Supreme anyplace but on the bow of the boat (they are bulky), so they are not really suitable for keeping below in reserve for the rare storm, and a very expensive Fortress which can be disassembled for storage might fit that bill better. The affordable claw, using my best guesses as to equivalent weight, gets kind of heavy in comparison to the others for the Working Anchor size. It does suggest, however, that if 33 lbs is OK for a working anchor, then I might just as well hang a Rocna 15 (33 lbs, $275.99) off the bow to cover me through pretty much any situation I’m likely to find myself in. Peter Smith (the designer of the Rocna and former scourge of internet forums everywhere) is adamant in his claims that the sizing recommendations for the Rocna are conservative (the recommended size is the 22 pounder, theoretically good to 50 knots) and that it really shouldn’t be necessary to go larger, although I worry about having to ride out a hurricane at anchor someday.

I think I need to stop at West Marine and actually see how big this gear is. Perhaps combining a Rocna 10 on the starboard side of the bowsprit, with a Lewmar Horizon Claw 22 (the manufacturer recommended size) on the port side would be a good compromise allowing multiple anchor situations (tight swing room or storm use) and a spare setup in case of primary anchor failure (either through loss or simply not being able to set properly). A seven pound Fortress FX-11 ($142.59) as a stern/kedge anchor would round out the set nicely, especially since I think I already have one (although what I have might be an FX-7). And what the heck, if I can find the room I can always keep one of the Danforth 13Ss around for good measure.

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Bayfield 29 — An early review

I’ve had a few weeks with the new boat (Bayfield 29, la Princesa…until I change the name in a few weeks), and I’m getting a good feel for her.

Firstly, I don’t have any buyers remorse. At least not yet. I’m rather pleased with the design in general.

Under sail:

She sails remarkably well in light air. Not race boat fast; but certainly a lot better than I expected from a full keel, rather full body cutter. Under the asymmetrical spinnaker she would do three knots in around six knots indicated wind (masthead anemometer), and if I was willing to settle for two knots of speed (and I often am), I could probably keep her moving at that pace on most points of sail under working canvas in any but the lightest wind (perhaps I’m overstating the case; but given my experience so far I don’t think by much).

She is perfectly happy in heavyish weather provided she gets a reef in the main by around 20 knots wind or so. I’ve had her in the high twenties pushing thirty (apparent, indicated) under one reef and both head-sails (I’m not sure if they are the original sizes or not) and there was a fair amount of weather helm; but it wasn’t unmanageable or uncomfortable, although a second reef probably wouldn’t have been a bad idea. I haven’t explored the full range of capability yet (I JUST bought the boat); but I’m willing to bet that with the second (fairly deep) reef, 40 knots of wind will be somewhat anti-climatic (although the wave action that goes along with 40 knots might not be pleasant…I’m not rushing to find out). I find her quite stiff (a benefit of that rotund body, I suspect), dry, and comfortable throughout the twenties with probably three to four foot Chesapeake waves.

Under Power:

No trouble handling under power in forward. She will turn within her own length to port (edit: I THINK to port…My recollection is suddenly challenging that direction). In reverse I now understand all the full keel complaints. I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually; but I haven’t yet. I back into my slip; but I am using warping lines more than engine power at the moment. It’s a bit more work; but even single handed in a cross breeze I know I can get the boat in that way. I have watched some maestros under power, though, and I know it can be done with some more experience.

Cockpit and Deck:

The cockpit is deeper than I would like. It feels quite secure; but I need a huge cushion to sit high enough for good visibility (and I’m not a tiny man!). The seat coamings are practically vertical, the seat bottoms are too narrow, and the foot well area is so wide it is difficult to brace against the opposite seat. Happily, with the cushion I’m high enough I can see, and the boat is stiff enough that bracing isn’t as big a deal as it could be. But if each of the seats was a few inches wider, and the foot well was 6-8 inches narrower, and the back rest was angled a bit, the cockpit would be much more comfortable. Also I find it a little tricky to have one person at the tiller while another is tending the sheets as they both want to occupy the same space. This can be worked around, and with experimentation I am figuring it out; but some more thought here wouldn’t have been out of place. The cockpit also seems designed to hold a tremendous amount of water, with only two average size (1.5″ maybe? Less?) drains to let it all out. Hopefully if I’m ever out in conditions likely to flood the cockpit the cabin hatches are in, and the engine room hatch gasketing is more robust than it looks. Before serious contemplation of an
offshore trip I’d have to think long and hard about putting in more cockpit drainage. As deep as the cockpit is, boat handling would be a challenge with more than a couple people in it.

While we are in the cockpit, I’d also like to say that I am not a big fan of having halyards run aft.
Running the two head-sail halyards aft is pointless because I have roller furling (which is pretty nice, by the way). And the mains’l halyard is almost as pointless as the main seems to often get hung up on the lazyjacks going both up and down, which requires going to the mast to guide things along. While this is probably correctable either through a reconfiguration of the lazyjacks, or a change in technique on my part, what is not easily correctable is the reefing lines which are at the base of the boom. There is little point in trying to rig them to the cockpit as it is still necessary to be at the mast to get the reefing hook into the tack (although I suppose I could try and rig single line reefing…I’ll think about it). The outhaul and topping lift are also controlled at the mast. What the heck, they might as well have left the main halyard there too! I’ll think about it for the next year or so, I guess, and see if it bugs me enough to make changes. This is one of those things where the current setup appears ideal for the single hander, but I find it quite the opposite. It’s also a shame the boom wasn’t a few inches higher as this is a headache waiting to happen (a foot higher might permit standing headroom under the dodger and bimini)!

One other gripe, although this seems to also be common across most modern designs, is that one of the shroud chainplates on either side goes through the deck. The inner shrouds are attached to the house sides, and with that near vertical orientation they don’t seem to leak. The outer shrouds, though, poke a hole through the damn deck. Why? This is certainly NOT a racing boat, so a couple extra inches of sheeting angle won’t matter, especially since neither head sail extends aft of the mast. If Bayfield would have just moved the chainplates to the hull side I’m willing to bet that any water leakage, even with old caulking, would be minimal. As it is I’m going to need to caulk them up when I do my winter refit. The standing rigging will need to be replaced at some point, and I may consider moving those chain plates out at that time. I need to do research first, though, as there are likely to be unintended consequences.

The good news is the side decks are reasonably wide, the life lines are high enough to be safe, the foredeck feels secure, and the motion of the boat is quite comfortable.

The Cabin:

Moving on to the interior we have what is, in many ways, a brilliant layout. By eliminating the v-berth (which typically in small boats becomes a catch all junk room) we not only get rid of the least comfortable berth aboard, we suddenly have room for a remarkably spacious head for a small boat. It is quite comfortable. Forward of the head is a hanging/storage locker, and further forward a huge anchor locker. There is even a funny little cushioned seat in the head, which I haven’t been able to find a point to; but it looks pretty cool even if I’m unlikely to ever sit on it. With the head further forward, we open up the main cabin. There is a centerline table with fold up leafs. On the starboard side is a berth that pulls out into a double, with a regular settee on the port side. Aft further is a half bulkhead that separates the galley (starboard) and chart table (decently sized to port). Partitions slide up from the half bulkhead to really separate the main cabin from what I’m calling the “working” (galley/navigation) cabin if the need for privacy and separation would arise (for instance, on a passage with sleeping crew). Aft of both the galley and chart table are a pair of quarter berths, port (a little too short) and starboard (plenty long). Four opening portlights plus the hatch in the head allow for decent ventilation. I’m 5’10” tall and I have standing headroom throughout, barely, although I have bumped my head a few times walking through the door to the head. Stowage is quite reasonable (I’m still experimenting on how best to utilize it). Water tankage is fine for a week or so (25 or 30 gallons I’m guessing); but could probably stand to be increased for any extended trips, especially considering the waste associated with a pressure water system (there is currently no system implemented for non-pressure water, although this is on my to-do list). The interior is teak, which some people like (me, for one), and others find gloomy. Build quality seems generally very decent.

Brilliant or not, I have a couple gripes about the interior as well. Well, I have one BIG gripe. Once
again Ted Gozzard (or perhaps Bayfield yachts themselves) had an ergonomic brain fart. The settees, when in “couch” mode (that is, the seat backs are down), are too narrow, and it constantly feels like you are sitting on the edge of your seat. I guess this is OK for eating at the table; but not my cup of tea for just relaxing in the cabin. Raise the seat backs into bunk mode and they are as comfortable as any bunk I’ve personally been on. I have a few thoughts on how to make the settees more comfortable; but it will take a little experimentation. I’m going to try to avoid major surgery, or having to make new cushions ($$$); but I might not get away with that. Given that this boat will eventually be my home, though, the situation needs to be worked on a bit, and it deserves to have a few dollars thrown at it.

Ice melts fast in the ice-box. I think I’ll probably turn it into dry storage and pick up an Engle or
something (I’ll snug it down into the starboard quarter berth or something, I guess).


The engine is a Yanmar 2GM, is about thirteen horsepower (although I can not get it up to max continuous RPM of 3400, meaning I’m not getting all the ponies), and seems to push the boat along just fine. When the wind and seas are calm I am just about getting to hull speed at maybe 2800 RPM (indicated). When the wind and waves are well up, I’ve been held back to as little as four knots over the ground (the knotmeter is not giving realistic numbers, so I’m defaulting to GPS…it should be correct within a quarter to maybe half knot or so, I think) at my max achievable RPM of three thousand. A few extra horsepower when the wind is blowing would not be unwelcome; but I think I’m getting an adequate amount. I think twenty horse power would have been a better choice; but not nearly better enough to consider spending the money to repower. I haven’t figured out fuel consumption, yet; but it is modest. The standard alternator is 35 amps. Given the horsepower, I’m not sure if it is reasonable to go much bigger which might put a practical limit on battery capacity.

Engine access is terrific, both through a hatch in the cockpit (although I wonder what would happen if the cockpit got flooded) and by removing the companionway steps, through the cabin. My only complaint is that the oil dipstick is in an awkward location which discourages checking it daily; but that is part of the discipline. I had a cooling problem a few days ago, so I pulled the water pump off to check the impeller and replace the belts. It was easy. I haven’t done any other maintenance on it yet; but outside of changing the oil (I think the old oil is sucked up through the dipstick port with a pump), most everything looks pretty easy to handle. Since there isn’t an hour meter on the motor and I don’t know when any scheduled preventative maintenance was last done, I’m planning on doing pretty much everything on the scheduled maintenance list to effectively reset the clock to zero before hauling in a few weeks for the winter. I may put in an hour meter at some point to help keep track, too.

I have a pair of Group 24 deep cycle batteries, in two banks. I’d like to at least double my amp capacity. It is not immediately obvious the best way to shoe-horn in more batteries, although I have a couple ideas. A tape measure will be my best friend for awhile. Given the smallish alternator, solar charging will be a good idea.

Boat options:

Air-conditioning! It is probably twenty years old and blows cool, but not cold air. I’m going to see if I can fix this up. As a soon to be live-aboard I believe I will replace this unit if I can’t get it working better (might just need a charge, or perhaps a good cleaning). It does get hot here in the

Propane on demand hot water heater. It works, and generates scalding hot water. But it seems to take awhile to get going, and the water tanks are small enough that running the faucet while waiting for the hot water to show up seems like a terrible waste of fresh water. Taking a hot shower on a cool morning is pretty damn awesome, though! (Although there are pitfalls to showering aboard). I need to redo the propane lines (it’s a trust issue), so I may decide to get rid of the water heater. It will be kind of odd having a hot water faucet on each of the sinks without any hot water; but such is life. I can use my portable pump up sprayer for showers (it works well) by either solar heating the container or just boiling a pot of water.

Deck wash-down pump. The water around here is muddy. It’s very cool to be able to spray off the
chain and deck after raising anchor. Very cool.

Propane stove. I guess the Bayfields came with Origo alcohol stoves; but my 29 has a Kenyon two
burner propane job. I’m not a big foodie and I tend to cook simple meals, so this isn’t that big a deal to me. Gas is nice, though. Unfortunately, the stove is not gimballed (and it doesn’t have an oven, although that is of limited interest to me), and there is no easy way to install a permanent gimballed stove without doing major galley surgery and probably sacrificing the starboard quarter berth (which isn’t likely to get used much; but it might be important if it comes time to sell the boat down the road). I have a thought on how to inexpensively build a portable/removable gimballed stove sort of like the old Sea Cook stove, so when the time comes I’m sure I’ll be OK. There is currently a six pound propane tank hanging off the stern pulpit. Before doing any long distance cruising it might make sense
to get another.


While I have a few gripes, I find the boat meets my needs about as well, better really, as could be expected. There are always compromises; but in a sub-thirty foot live-aboard (take away the pulpit, it is probably closer to 27′) I don’t think I could ask for much more. I don’t know if many Bayfield 29s are out doing ocean crossings; but while the design might not be the best choice for a trip around the Horn, I don’t see any reason why she shouldn’t be perfectly capable and comfortable for seasonally appropriate passages providing some modest updating is done; although my experience in the matter is a bit limited.

She makes me smile when I look at her, and even though she looks a little tired at the moment, she gets a lot of compliments. She is thirty years old, and as is reasonably expected, her systems and cosmetics need some attention. Getting old sucks; but I don’t see any reason why “la Princesa” (I’m looking forward to the new name) can not be restored to full glory with a modest amount of elbow grease.

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