Engine Room Cooling Upgrade

Engine Room Cooling Upgrade

Once we closed on Red Rover almost two years ago, we were then able to be admitted to the wonderful world of the NOG (Nordhavn Owners Group).  The NOG is an owners only online forum that discusses all things Nordhavn.  One of the topics that first really caught my attention was about keeping engine room temp down as much as possible.   As we had just brought Red Rover up from San Diego and performed engine room checks every hour, I knew that ours came up around 110 degrees after being underway for a while.  Industry goals target a 30 degree delta above outside temps and the engine room should never get above 130 degrees (for the health of the systems inside and anyone that needs to be in the ER for any amount of time!).  As the outside temp on the Washington Coast was probably no more than 60 degrees, Red Rover was pushing an excess of 50 degrees delta – not good!  Especially once we head south in to the tropics when temps can get towards 100.  Much more air must be moved/exchanged thru the engine room to make a positive difference.  So we knew this project would be one that would be addressed at some point.

Fortunately for me, I stumbled across the blog of Peter Hayden.  He and Laurie own Tanglewood, a Nordhavn N60.  The N60 is essentially a N55 with 5′ of extra cockpit but the rest of the boat is pretty much identical to Red Rover.  Flipping thru their blog, I found Peter’s recipe to solve the same issue we had with ER cooling.  You can read all of his homework and steps he took to achieve a cooler engine room HERE.  We owe Peter and Laurie a nice dinner for breaking trail on this one.  What it seems took Peter weeks/months to work thru took me just a few days (over the course of a couple of weeks) to complete.  Thanks Peter!

Here is what I started with.  The is the aft side of the pilothouse, right where the stack comes up from the engine room.


First thing too do is remove the fiberglass splash guard.


Behind the splash guard is more fiberglass!  The top half comes off with 4 screws.  Behind it shows the one 5″ hose that vents the air out from the engine room.  Not much volume can go thru that hose!


Next thing to do was remove the fiberglass panel that divides the storage space from the stack area.


A better look at that fiberglass panel.  Behind it is a large squirrel cage fan that is supposed to draw air up from the engine room and push it out the 5″ hose.  The smaller 3″ metal hose is connected to a fan above the engine.  That fan pushes air in to the stack insulation and then out this hose.  It does get hot!


Here is the large fan that was behind that panel.  As Peter notes, it does pull some air up from the engine room but it also is pulling air from anywhere which includes down the stack, which does not help cool the engine room.


Fan gone and you can see the 5″ hole where the hose was attached.  You can also see how hot that 3″ hose gets – the fiberglass is brown from heat.  The conduit is the power for the fan – it ran down the wall next to that really hot metal hose…  keep this in mind for later in this story.


This is looking up the stack cavity.  You can see daylight shining down.  Part of the project is capping that area off, essentially creating an air dam.  We want that done so the new fans only draw air up from the engine room.



I made my “fan panel” from aluminum.  It was cut on the CNC router at the office.


3 axial fans are mounted to the aluminum panel.  These fans are specifically made for engine room venting.


I prewired up the fans.  Easier done here than in the cramped space!  The panel is made in two pieces…  The large part goes in first and the small cap will close off the bottom area.


Remember that hot metal vent hose from earlier?  It cooked the power wires for the fan.  Not good!  I moved that hose in to the middle of the aluminum panel where it can’t hurt anyone!


Fans and panel in place!  This is looking up from the bottom of the closet.


How it looks from the outside!


In place ready for the bottom panel…


Next I added conduit up and over each fan to keep water from running down in to the junction box.


Conduit runs down to the junction box.  The bottom conduit is the supply power.


Here is this part finished…  still more to do!


Here is a two part aluminum air dam to go around the exhaust stack.  This area was accessed from either side of the stack housing on the flybridge level.


The next part was probably the most difficult.  Not technically difficult but the type of difficult you run in to when you cut holes in the fiberglass of your really expensive boat!  As Peter found in his experience, once you have all the air coming in to this area, it needs help getting out!  So holes and stainless grills were added to allow that flow to leave as unrestricted as possible.


This is how Red Rover now looks.  We have not had the opportunity to run the boat with this new upgrade but we look to have similar results of cooling in the engine room as Peter found.  Peter’s engine room was down to 20 degrees delta of outside temps.  This will make engine room checks much more enjoyable!



Seattle Boat Show/Nordhavn Weekend

Seattle Boat Show/Nordhavn Weekend

Whew!  What a weekend.  The “Great Seattle Boat Show” weekend is always a fun one for us – something we look forward to much as others likely look forward to Christmas morning.  We love wandering the aisles of the show, looking for things on our “list,” walking aboard vessels on Lake Union and seeing friends who come out for the show.  It’s the gathering of the tribe of boat nuts.


This is on N63 Peregrinations, but one of the options that we are looking at…
The Simrad Follow Up


Last year we were shopping for nav system “stuff” with the help of Larry from Emerald Harbor.  We weren’t planning to do the giant project for a few years, but alas, we did as evidenced by the gleaming Furuno screens now residing in the pilothouse.  This year we are looking for new auto pilots (again with Larry’s help), an updated Waggoner Guide (our smallest purchase for sure), a new sea kayak that is meant for NW waters vs. our existing warm water sit-on-top-kayak, and we are considering trading out our dinghy.  Hours of fun!


Alison’s kayak – what shall we name it?  The rep suggested “Don’t Flip Over”…



The weekend started with a fun gathering on Red Rover of friends Dale and Glenda (of N43 Serenity) down from Alaska for the show, and some local peeps with extensive Alaskan knowledge – Sam, Laura and Kevin of Slow Boat fame.

On Saturday morning, we hosted our first Nordhavn Dreamer open house.  What fun!  I think we might have to do that again.  We decided to have a little dreamer open house after a lot of banter on the Nordhavn Dreamer Groups (a message board of sorts) about the Seattle Boat Show, people traveling to see Nordhavns (only one in the show) and a long story about wife “eye rolling” around this Nordhavn thing.  Well that eye rolling commentary got me going.  If you’ve read this blog you know that I have no intention of being “the Admiral” (I call myself the Deck Boss) and that I was actually the one who said, “hey let’s live on this boat.”  Enough with husbands saying their wives are rolling their eyes already. So….we had an open house.  With mimosas of course.  It’s Boat Show time of year – celebrate! We had 11 guests all of whom were so delightful to chat with.  Some of them even left exchanging contact information with one another.  Completely consistent with the Nordhavn community that is a big part of owning this boat.  We love our boat to distraction and talking about her with other Nordhavn enthusiasts?  Nothing more fun than that!


Boat Show Mimosas!
Lively Nordhavn conversations!
Lugger Lovers!
Zoe and her Rocket!


Saturday afternoon was spent wandering the indoor show.  We went to one Boat Show University class but found that perhaps we were more graduate student level boaters.  More wandering.  And a new kayak purchase – an Eddyline Skylark that will be perfect for exploring the bays and inlets that Red Rover brings us to.  Surprisingly I opted for the blue hull (not red?  Gasp) and will pick up my new boat and Werner “Puget Sound” patterned paddle at the end of the show.  So excited!

On Saturday evening we went to the Nordhavn owner’s event at the Seattle Yacht Club Elliott Bay outstation, hosted by PAE.  Now Kevin and I are extroverted introverts.  We don’t traditionally do well in large parties and tend to run and hide.  But our friends Tom and Linda (N57 Meridian) and Dale and Glenda (N43 Serenity) were going to be there as well as Scott and Brad from Emerald Harbor who we think are the bees knees.  So we figured we’d be ok.  We walked up to a building with almost 100 Nordhavn owners in it.  Amazing.

The event was fun!  In fact, Kevin was probably one of the last owners there.  I dragged him out as Dan Streech (President of PAE, which is the parent company of Nordhavn) was plugging in a vacuum cleaner.  (Hello, he is behind the vacuum?  I love that – a president title and not above helping with clean up.)  I have to say, we have wanted to meet Dan for many years, ever since we became Dreamers.  We first watched the Nordhavn North Atlantic Rally (NAR) video back in 2008(ish) and learned about Dan and his partner in PAE, Jim Leishman.  And we were hooked.  Big time.  I think we’ve watched that video over 50 times since then. Most recently last week sitting on Red Rover. Seriously.  So meeting Dan was just fantastic.  He is as honest, down-to-earth, interesting, kind and knowledgeable in person as he comes across in the video and his interactions on the Dreamers and owner’s sites.  What a pleasure.  He probably thought I was a little silly as I told him all of this but he did give me a hug, so apparently I wasn’t too nutty.


Anyways, we talked to other owners, the ever- incredible-Lugger Bob (who had previously spent a day on our boat, in our engine room), our friends at Emerald Harbor and some of their spouses for the evening.  It went too quickly. What incredible, smart, interesting and down-to-earth people.  It felt like talking with people we’d known our entire lives.  It’s all about a shared passion – these amazing world-traveling trawlers.  But I think it is also about a personality type that lives behind the boat owners – people who are curious, thoughtful, kind and not hung up on themselves.  I mean these are people that own boats that are valued from over $500K to many millions of dollars.  But that doesn’t matter.  These are real people who are open and wonderful.  It was amazing.  We can’t wait to go to the PAE 40th anniversary party in Dana Point in April.