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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 a gallon of warm water and pour it over the evaporator plate 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.

Galley Aux Fridge

The auxiliary galley fridge is very cold!  We call it "the flash fridge".  If you crank it to it's maximum setting it will settle at a temperature well below freezing.  There is a picture of the thermostat in the FBG charter guide showing the setting that approximately corresponds to 32 degrees F.  This fridge is best used for liquids.

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.  My recent experience is that the fuel burn rates for the Volvo D2-75 engine is 1.7 gph.  The generator is burning approximately 0.5 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.  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 2x310 watt rigid solar panels.   Assuming they are clean, no overcast, and sun is directly above it is possible to produce 600 watts.  On average during the day the panels are producing in the high 400s to 500s.  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.  I suggest downloading the Victron Connect application for your smart phone and connecting to the Victron solar controller which will show current power output as well as total energy output over the past many days.  The panels are sensitive to grime - I suggest you wipe them down with some clean water every couple of days for maximum power output generation.

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 10 hours with the typical DC draws.  The inverter on FBG powers all of the AC systems.  I highly recommend (a) NOT running the microwave off of the batteries - start the generator and (b) turning off the inverter when not in use as it takes a fair amount of power.

Docking Fat Bottom Girl

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

  • Deploy all but one of the fenders.  Place the two large fenders on the bow.  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

  • Make sure the bow thruster is active

  • Easiest to dock with starboard side to the dock since you can better sea from the helm position plus the slight prop walk when hitting reverse will move the aft end into the dock

  • Never approach the dock faster than you are willing to hit the dock.  FBG has a single large rudder and will turn even at very low speeds

  • Your deck crew will hand off the bow line to the dock help first.  You are correct that the forward springline would be a better line to fasten first but the dock help won't know how to do that.  Hand them the bow line and don't try to correct them.  Just be glad there is dock help


  • FBG has two large fenders and four "normal" sized fenders.  I suggest you stow them as follows:

    • Under the large (and heavy) grate in the cockpit you can store the two large fenders plus all of the dock lines​

    • Place the remaining fenders in the forward locker, i.e., the "captain's cabin".  If you have someone using this cabin then stow three fenders in the aft sun bed locker and stick the last fender in the aft equipment area (hatch at bottom of the cockpit sun bed locker).

In the Galley

The stove cover can store vertically next to the stove on the left hand side.  The sink covers can store behind the faucet (but don't leave them there when underway or they will fly out and crash to the floor or bang into the cabinets).


Reefing the Main

The Dufour 530 will take a lot of wind before needing 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.   You will need a little patience as the boat swings on the mooring.  I would not recommend this for a tightly packed mooring field!


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.  You are now holding on a specific heading

3. Press the Menu button

4.  On the resulting screen highlight and select "Mode"

5.  Highlight "Wind Vane" and select it

6.  You should now be in wind vane mode.  Use the +/- 1 or 10 buttons to adjust the angle to the wind which is shown in the upper right corner

To raise the main I highly recommend sending someone to the mast.  The reef lines have a tendency to get wound up around the blocks 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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