About Jade

click Jade repair to read Arni's article: "Equipment issues and problems with work done in NZ"

Jade is a Manta 42 Mk II catamaran built by Manta Catamarans of Sarasota, Florida. Here is a brief description of her accommodation, rig and equipment.

Like most modern cats, her most important sail is the main, which has a large roach and two deep reefs, with single lines run back to the cockpit. There are lazy jacks and a boom basket which makes lowering this large sail tidily very easy. There is a Doyle sail bag which zips under the sail when it is raised, and neatly zips over it for stowing. The jib is self tacking, using a 'camber spar' to control the shape. It is not therefore, roller furling, but is hanked on and brought down with a downhaul utilising lazy jacks and is bagged whilst it is supported by the camber spar. With all the regularly used sheets, halyards and reefing lines led back to an electric winch at the helm, most normal sailing activities are easy, and tacking is a matter of turning the wheel. She has a number of other interesting items... a Dutchman boom brake helps to avoid crash gybes, if one remembers to set it when running! Jade is fitted with a gennaker mounted on a continuous line furler. A second winch at the back of the cockpit controls the sheet/guy. The rolled up gennaker is hauled up the mast on its own halyard, and then unrolled to leeward with the sheet. If running deep, the tack can be winched up to the weather bow allowing her to utilise this sail from about 110 degrees to 160. All the control lines for this gennaker are also led back to the cockpit. All this lines are very well organised by a neat system of lead blocks and clutches whilst there is a large rope bin to tidy up the cockpit.

We have a large cockpit enclosure, standard on Mantas, which is a work of art in large tube welded aluminium. It makes for an amazingly useful area, is enormously strong, but is of modest weight. It even incorporates a unique high seat from which passengers get a panoramic view and from which I normally keep watch.

There is a large aluminium spade anchor on 200' of stainless 1/4 chain. A fortress is used as a backup and a Fiorentino parachute sea anchor on 450' of 5/8 braid with a 40'bridle is stored for emergencies.This rig is all attached with shackles, so nowhere is there any nylon touching anything except the stainless thimbles in the eyes. No chafe.

Jade is well loaded, being a home for the four of us, and as the reader may know, catamarans don't like to be overloaded. Despite this she will outperform a similar size monohull, even a sporty one, on most points of sail. Close hauled in light winds she makes too much leeway, but easing off quickly picks up speed, and we won't be far behind the monohull at the mark. Then wait until we go on a broad reach.

She is powered by two 30hp Volvo diesels with sail drives and Volvo folding propellers. Top speed is about 8.5 knots, and recommended cruising revs gives 7 knots. The Volvo agent told me we could run these engines flat out all the time if we wished, as they were rated for that speed, but we would pay in overall poorer fuel efficiency.

Fuel capacity is 125 US gallons, and water 100 gallons. Her range is over 600 miles at cruising speed. She is EU CE rated category A, the first Manta so certified.

Each engine has a 60amp alternator which automatically charges both engine and house banks. Sea water is supplied through a special sea strainer. For the fuel there is fuel polishing system incorporating a large centrifugal filter and a magnetic bug killer. This system is normally only seen on trawler yachts which have to depend only on one engine. To see it on a sailing vessel is almost unique. The engines are fitted with an electric oil removing pump to simplify oil changes, but a manual vacuum pump needs to be used on the sail drives. There is a manual parallel switch for emergency starting.

A 5.5kw 'NextGen' generator is mounted in a sound box in the port bow compartment. This draws its sea water through a special 'Groco' water strainer which eats weeds or other debris, and probably tin cans for all I know! This Groco strainer also supplies the sea water for the air conditioner cooling water. The gen can power the two AC units. There is a Spectra 300 gallons per day water maker.

A mastervolt battery charger can be powered by the gen. or from shore power. Jade has two isolation transformers so she can take shore power at 110 or 240 volts. All the ship's mains and appliances are 110 volts. They can also use the Mastervolt inverter supplied from the 660 amp/hr house bank of gel cell batteries. The final electrical goody are the six 82w solar panels.

All interior lighting is cold cathode, and nav lights are LED.

The instruments are almost all Raymarine, with an ST8001 smartpilot, which steers much, much better than I can, and an ST4000plus wheel pilot as a backup, which cannot steer as well as me, and with whose settings I still need to fiddle. We have an RC80 plus plotter/radar. The scanner is a 24" 48 mile version. I have a wind and tridata display, and another tridata in the nav station. A 'Seamee' active radar transponder is mounted on the mast and comes on with the instruments. Also on the mast head is a lightning conductor and charge dissipator, and the conductor is backed up with a large cable clamped to the foot of the mast and which is lowered into the sea through the trampoline when in port or when storms are about. This is called a 'Strikeguard' system.

There is an Icom DSC VHF with a command mic in the cockpit, and an Icom M802 SSB at the nav station. In order to support Cam's writing career, we also have a KVH (Thrane & Thrane) F33 Inmarsat Fleet satellite phone which not only gives voice, but world-wide high speed data, so we can browse the net in the middle of the ocean, but at some expense!

Safety equipment consists of a GPS EPIRB, three MOB modules and a 6 person liferaft. Jack lines are available for fitting in anything other than calm conditions, or when sailing at night. Likewise lifejackets are worn unless it is very calm, and always by the children when out of the cockpit at sea.

Galley has a Force 10 three burner stove with oven, and there is a Sharp microwave. A gas BBQ is fitted on the rail. There is a huge refrigerator and almost as large freezer, each with 6" of insulation. These work on a compressor system, not holding plate, and they are very efficient. The solar panels alone can keep them supplied.

For entertainment we have lots of books, a 20" TV and a Clarion radio/CD player. A DVD player backs up the TV. Two notebook computers are used for entertainment, Cam's work, maintaining this web site, and one can be networked to the Raymarine network so that the Raymarine RNS nav programme can be interfaced and share all the data. So far this has been buggy. We can see radar on the PC, but attempting to open the chart plotter causes a blue screen crash, and Raymarine tech support don't seem to know the answer. Watch this space! Charts are C-map NT+ as they can be used on both the plotter and the PC. This is why we insisted on the now outdated RC80 display. The new C and E series displays use Navionics Gold charts, which Raymarine's own PC software cannot read! How stupid is that?

There are two toilets with separate shower stalls, a 20 gallon heater provides hot water, and the loos are fresh water electric flush into two 20 gallon holding tanks. The contents are macerated. Fresh water flushing is only viable with a water maker, and should that fail, the salt water anchor washdown reaches to the toilets and can be used in an emergency.

There is storage everywhere.

This is a very complex yacht, and maintaining, indeed, understanding, all this kit will take a lot of effort. However, I hope to be up to the challenge, and it is all the best equipment of its type, so most of it should be reliable.

Commissioning Jade at Bradenton was expected to take about 1 week. Eventually it took a whole month, and every working day we had people on board from the builders or the electronics agents. The cause was, quite frankly, a failure of quality control at the factory, where they are expanding rapidly, probably too much so. The Manta 42 Mk II, in concept, design, equipment and performance is the best cat of its size on the market, of that I am wholly convinced. Those that come close, for example, the Lagoon 410SE or a few other French or Australian cats would cost very significantly more. However, this commissioning problem was a disappointment. It was compensated for by the willingness of the two company owners to put everything right as soon as possible and without regard to cost. The minority partner, and driving force behind these boats almost from the beginning, is an interesting character called Pat Reischman. He hates to see 'his' boats in anything other than 1st class condition, even berating owners for not cleaning them! He pursued every defect rigourously, and we also benefitted from his perfectionism because several improvements we had not asked for were fitted free during our stay. This was not just to satisfy us, as I know these were either fitted to, or sent out to, numerous other recent owners.

(wrote Arni on 28/5/2005)

Update written 26/2/06 in Panama

Well, we have been sailing Jade for nearly a year, and learnt quite a lot about her performance and equipment.

Changes:-

I was not very happy with the Facnor SG2000 continuous line furler used for the gennaker. Whilst in Annapolis at the boat show, I contacted them, and they said it was too small for my sail, and I should use the 3000 or 4000. I then spoke to Doyle Sails and asked advice about light wind performance. They recommended I buy a UPS gennaker. This is much flatter than the one I had already, almost code 0 shape, and is made of dacron, not nylon, so is much stronger. The owner of the loft contacted Facnor who agreed to supply a larger single line furler and credit me with the full refund cost of the original. It turns out that they gave me $500 as the new furler is much cheaper. I bought the UPS with a show discount. It is excellent, allowing me to use it between 50 degrees and 170 degrees apparent. It likewise furls on its own luff, but you must make sure there is no load on the sheet when furling, otherwise it won't roll properly. This has been a great addition. I have also added barber haulers to the jib sheet which gives a much better sail shape close hauled. I acquired a 2.5hp Mercury ob as a backup to our 6hp Tohatsu, although this has been very reliable since our early trouble. Trick is to use a fuel additive that stops it going off in the heat. We have bought an all in one copier/scanner/printer for all the docs we need to produce when checking into countries. This also allows me to print charts from the C-Map software as backups. talking of backups, I also bought a Navman colour plotter. This works well, has its own aerial and uses the same C-map charts as my Raymarine plotter. I also have a USB GPS device for the computer nav software, and two hand-held GPS sets. Finally there is a GPS in the Inmarsat set.

Working well:-

Solar panels, free power, no maintenance

Volvo engines, smooth and reliable.

Next Gen generator, after an early problem is a great boon

Spectra watermaker, totally reliable, efficient and BRILLIANT!

Fridge, occasional defrost required, but as good as a domestic fridge

All sails good.

All electrics good

Nav gear good, Raymarine RL80 excellent.

Toshiba Qosmio AV computer is a work of art with excellent WiFi aerial.

(The Dell is ok, so so.)

Sat comms, after early setup problems works as advertised and completely reliably.

The Giant Halfway bicycle (the only one remaining after an accident in Florida) is a superb piece of equipment. Lives on deck in salt spray, and only two bolts rust, The rest is stainless or aluminium. Great to ride too.

The spade 140 anchor has never dragged even though we have several times been surrounded by dragging boats. It sets first time every time. I am generous with how much chain I put out. Recently anchored in 11 metres, I found that most of the boats that dragged had no more than 5x`scope, and many had less. I had all 200' out. I would like an even bigger Spade. Even so, the 140 is much bigger than most American boats have.

Problems:-

SSB (Icom M802) would not work properly, finally fixed in Panama. Many minor installation problems to fix. Icom America are hopeless.

Jabsco electric toilets so so. Guest side blocked by toilet paper, Very difficult to clean out, and now leaking too.

Force 10 stove piezo ignition keeps failing.

Raymarine Pathfinder PC system STILL not working, and still no support from Raymarine. They ignore my e-mails or tell me I'm not registered (I am). So no viewing of plotter from instrument connection. This network addition was expensive, so to have had it for a year without being able to use it is not acceptable.

Sailing Jade:-

Before the UPS she was a half apparent wind speed boat on most points of sail. Now she can do 3/5 of apparent wind speed. She more than meets my expectations. There are faster cats, but I doubt that any cruising oriented one in this price range could live with her, if similarly laden. Ride is good with only occasional slam from bridgedeck. She has been in a Force 7 offshore with VERY big waves (5-6 metres) and handled it with no problems. I sail close hauled at 40degrees in stronger winds, 45 degrees when wind is light. Monohulls sail closer, but we will be moving faster. Sailing downwind it is theoretically faster to gybe, but one would have to get the angles exactly right. Jade goes wing on wing so easily with the camber spare jib that I prefer to point directly at my destination. In so doing, I have not only been faster than any nearby boat, I have CREAMED them! I beat a Beneteau First 47.7 using his spinnaker by at least 2 miles after a 10 mile run straight downwind. I did not use my UPS, just to rub it in. I don't think he could believe his eyes.

We typically motor on one engine at 2800 rpm which gives 6.2 knots in calm water. This is exceptionally efficient using 1/2 gallon per hour. That's a 1200 mile range. It also saves on service intervals.

What would I change?

I need a bigger house battery bank. This boat has huge electrical needs. For example, if batteries are full, using the radar, autopilot, seamee, instruments and nav lights all night just about takes me to the 12.2 volt charging point. It will pick up a lot during the day if sunny with the solar panels, but will not be fully charged by the second night, thus requiring some motoring or generator use. Its better if I don't have to use the radar. A bigger bank would not change the charging balance, but would allow a three - five day passage without engines or generator.

I would not bring so many clothes!

I would rig the UPS permanently on a foil furler like a solent rig. I don't sail close enough to the wind to worry about air flow over the jib, and it would be much more convenient. It would need a sacrifical strip obviously.

That's it for now!

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