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Operational Hints

Cockpit Fridge

Stock the cockpit fridge each evening for the next day's drink supply.  The fridge looses efficiency very quickly with ice build up on the evaporator plate.  Accordingly you need to clear the ice every two to three days.  The best way to do this is to (a) pull the drinks out of the fridge and place them on the cockpit table, (b) remove the cork at the bottom of the fridge, and (c) grab the outdoor shower and hose the evaporator plate down to remove the ice, (d) wipe the fridge down and reinstall the cork and drinks.  Do not (PLEASE!!!!) chip the ice off the evaporator plate with a sharp tool as the risk of puncture is very high.  If you follow these instructions you will have cold drinks in the cockpit each day.  Easy peasy.

Fuel Burn Rate

It's kind of nice to have some idea how much fuel you are burning so you can make plans on potential refueling stops.  The published fuel burn rates from Volve on the D2-75 engine is 2.1gph at 2400 rpm.  It's 2.9gph at 2600 and at max rpm (3000) it's burning 4.7gph.  The generator is burning approximately 1/2 gph.  The generator burn depends on load which in my experience is roughly half of the rated output at night with all AC units running. 

12V Power

Fat Bottom Girl has three fridges and a freezer plus instruments galore in the cockpit.  That comfort comes at a price - she's a bit of a power pig.  To help you manage power consumption and charging I highly recommend taking a peek at the Victron power management gauge which will show you current power draw as well as AHr drawn since the system was charged.  The biggest power draws and amperages are:

  • Galley (main) Fridge                         5.25A

  • Galley (aux) Fridge                           4.0A

  • Galley Freezer                                   6.1 A

  • Cockpit Fridge                                   3.6 A

  • Nav Instruments (all turned on)    2.5A

  • Inverter - unkown

  • Lights - LED lights are used everywhere on Fat Bottom Girl.  The power use for lights is essentially zip

Total power usage may be around 25A.  But this is peak since the fridges/freezers are cycling depending on temperature plus the solar panels are outputting power to offset as well. 


FBG has 3x180 watt rigid solar panels.   Assuming they are clean, no overcast, and sun is directly above you are probably producing on average around 400 watts.  Which is sufficient to take care of the normal day time power needs, i.e., the state of the house bank batteries will be about the same at sun down as they were at sun up.

Fat Bottom Girl has 6 x 140AHr house bank batteries.  If you discharge them gently you should get approx. 400AHr. of energy out of them which is somewhere around 16 hours with the typical DC draws.  The inverter on FBG powers all of the AC systems.  I highly recommend NOT running the microwave off of the batteries - start the generator.

Docking Dream Machine

Fat Bottom Girl is pretty easy to dock.  Some tips:

  • Deploy all but one of the fenders.  Give the last fender to someone to use as a "roving" fender.  If you are fueling at Crown Bay the bottom of the fenders should be about 1/2 foot above the water

  • No need to place a fender on the very aft of the boat.  But after docking grab one of the fenders off the front and place on the very back so when you pivot the boat out (probably using the bow thruster) the boat will hit the fender instead of the nice and shiny gel coat

  • I learned how to dock a boat by using a big bag off the bow.  Accordingly there is a big inflatable bag in the forward hold on Fat Bottom Girl along with a hand pump.  It takes no more than a couple of minutes to get it inflated.  I strongly recommend using the inflatable fender - it takes very little effort to deploy it and it might well save a ding on the boat

  • Make sure the bow thruster is active

  • FBG will prop walk to starboard when you hit reverse.  So it's much easier to dock her starboard side to the dock such that when you hit reverse the stern will pull to starboard and come into the dock.


My opinion - it's easier to refuel at Crown Bay vs. Yacht Haven Grande. 


Reefing the Main

The Dufour 530 will take a lot of wind before it needs to be reefed.  First reef should probably be put in around 20 knots wind.  And second by 25 knots.  Depending on  your point of sail.  You can definitely tell how you are doing by looking at the rudder indicator to see how much rudder input is needed to keep you on course.  If you're up around half of the possible rudder input it's time to reef.  Too much power on the Main and Fat Bottom Girl will gently round up and point into the wind.

It only takes a couple of minutes to shake out a reef so you are better off starting with a reef than putting one in under way.

Raising the Main

If you are at anchor I highly recommend raising the main before you leave.  You are already pointing dead into the wind and you are usually sheltered from wind/wave.


If you need to raise the main while on your journey you will need to bring Fat Bottom Girl dead into the wind in order to raise the sail past the lazy jack lines.  This can be a somewhat frustrating experience as the helmsman does not have a clear view of the sail from the helm position due to the bimini top.  I usually place my wife in the helm position since she's not strong enough to winch the main all the way to the top.  I then attempt to give her directions on turning the boat ever so slightly and/or maintaining direction so I can do the winching.  You can imagine how well that might turn out...  Happily there is an easier way by utilizing the "wind vane" function of the Raymarine auto pilot.  Here are the steps:

1.  With Engine running and in forward gear bring the boat into the wind as close as possible.  The boat needs to be making enough head way for the auto pilot to stay engaged. 

2.  Engage the auto pilot.

3.  From the center console screen (you can use the other ones as well - just easier from here) hit the "home" physcial button , i.e., the upper right button with 9 dots on it.  


4.  From the Home screen use your finger and press on the "Autopilot" icon (this is a touch screen)

5.  From the Autopilot screen use your finger and push the "A" virtual button, ie., the upper left corner of the inner graphic.

6.  You are now showing the various functions of the Autopilot.  Again use your finger to push the "Wind" virtual button (upper right corner of the center graphic) on the touch screen.

7.  Now use the +/- 1 or 10 buttons to set the wind to 0 degrees.

The auto pilot will now hold the boat dead into the wind.  Go attend to the sail.

Video of the steps shown below.

To raise the main I highly recommend sending someone to the mast.  The reef lines have a tendency to get wound up around the block attached to the luff of the sail.  If you have someone at the mast you can easily un-stuck the line and make sure the reef line is moving freely.

I also highly recommend that the person at the mast - with the clear view of the sail and the lazyjack lines - raise the main.  And the person in the cockpit pick up the slack.  You will find that raising the main will be much simpler than trying to do this operation from the cockpit.

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