Well I hope that this is the last covid project that I do on my boat Dream Weaver. Need this to be over with and go cruising!
Anyway, my latest project is a lot more substantial in the way of time and dollars. I installed a Glendinning System. For those of you not familiar, it replaces the standard push-pull cables that control the throttle and shifter from levers in your pilothouse and perhaps fly bridge with a fly wire system. My main reason for doing this is that I had an incident last year pulling into an unfamiliar port and my honey, who was on the headset with me, suddenly went silent at an awkward time. Didn’t know what had happened to her as I was up on the fly bridge. My choice was to drift in the harbor and probably start knocking into other boats, etc, or pull out into deeper water away from the port. I chose the latter and put it on autopilot while I checked on Lori. Whatever it was that attacked her, it incapacitated her temporarily. I would have preferred to have been safely at the dock in this instance.
So how does the Glendinning system offer help, you ask? Well they also have a remote handset that can be added to the system. It is on a 35’ cable leading from the pilot house, which allows me to control everything but the steering. Shifters, throttle, and thrusters. I could have been at that dock and also been able to check on Lori without losing command of my boat. Dream Weaver at 55’ and 60000 lbs is not something you want to have doing pinball action in a marina.
The most difficult part of the install was first figuring out where to run the canbus cables from the pilot house to the engine room and then actually doing it. Creativity and boat yoga ruled the day. Installing the components was pretty straight forward. The wiring is all plug and play. There are cables running from the actuators in the engine room to the throttle and shifters. These require calibration to ensure proper operation. I was fortunate to have help from the Glendinning sales manager, Bill Waite. We had been corresponding about my project and he was able to help dial in the calibration. We actually took the boat out right after just to do some more fine tuning.
So the Glendinning System is in. It is a very robustly designed system. BUT, I like to have a back up plan for emergencies. The cables running from the pilot house were still in good shape. I purchased a different mechanical controller that would do both throttle and shift on the same lever. There are quick connects on the engine room side that will get me changed over in minutes if the need ever arises.
If anyone is interested in checking out my newest update to an old boat, just give me a shout.
From the desk of Senior Staﬀ Writer John Parvis, Brownsville Yacht Club