Minnow-- Modifications and additions Part 1 (a long winded discussion)

Albin's "power cruisers"
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Tuckerspohr
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In a previous post that I sent out about our trip up the Inside Passage to Alaska, there were a few requests to get more info on the refit of the Minnow. This is a pretty long post and boring in the extreme so consider yourself forewarned.

We spent two winters in Bend Oregon, refitting the Minnow. She is an Albin 25 Deluxe. Essentially we gutted the boat down to the bulkheads and the hull, and then installed all new gear.

The pictures below show the lifting frame and sling shed that I built to keep snow and rain off the project and provide access to the bottom side of the hull.
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We took the bottom paint down to the gelcoat to inspect for blisters, there were none. We removed three unnecessary thru hulls, and applied 3 coats of Interlux Bottomkote NT. And made minor fiberglass repairs to rudder.
The entire exterior of the boat was sanded and three coats of Interlux Brightside polyurethane paint was applied. All the inside surfaces of the boat were sanded and painted with Total Boat Epoxy Coat. We applied head liner and trim to all the vertical cabin surfaces to reduce condensation.
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All interior wiring was replaced with Anchor tinned up-gauge wiring with new breakers and Blue Sea switch panels. The battery system is comprised of three 12 volt deep cycle batteries in two banks, isolated by a Blue Seas ACR, and charged on AC power by a ProMariner HD12 two bank charger. Two 100 watt solar panels are controlled by a Victron Smarsolar system. There are two rotary isolation switches (constant and intermittent power) and a 30 amp shore side female deck inlet)

A Japanese diesel heater supplies heat to the main cabin, rear cabin and helm station with controllable dampers for each area. We suspended the fuel pump in a rubber harness and encased it in a soundproof box that quieted the irritating clicks considerably.

We Added an older but serviceable 12” Raytheon C120 Multi Function Chartplotter Display with a digital sounder, an external GPS antenna and 24 mile Raytheon radar, coupled to a new Icom GX2400VHF radio for AIS and comm reception
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We fabricated a light and sturdy aluminum hatch over the helm station. It opens vertically up to 14” and tilts in all directions on four tube legs that slide into receivers at each corner. The hatch is dogged down by straps and stainless NRS type buckles on deck. The system took me forever to perfect, and it’s not the most elegant design, but it works extremely well and is just about bomb proof. The solar panels are mounted on this hatch. There is a swing down helm step that provides additional elevation for the helms person.
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There are two swiveling helm seats on a pivoting, sliding aluminum framework that tilts up for access to the engine below and also provides a framework for four drawers for books and charts. The whole works can be slid forward and the seats can be swung around to provide more space and seating in the cockpit area.
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Aft of the fiberglass pilothouse is a full aluminum cabin top that extends to cover the entire cockpit. There is large very handy aluminum storage basket and radar arch that is attached on top of the hard top. A sturdy dodger with Issen glass and heavy duty zippers extends down from the hard top and encloses the cockpit. This arrangement has proved to be very watertight, convenient for entry and provides many ventilation options.
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There is an aluminum ladder aft of the hardtop for access to the basket and for those who want to sit on the radar arch seats. We call this our “Command Bridge”, certainly not the most secure perch.
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All cabin lighting is LED, most with dimming features, and with integral USB outlets. There is amber overhead night vision illumination in all cabins and a red chart whip light. There is a bright flood mast head forward fog light, and the standard nav, running and anchor lights. The 15 foot aluminum boat pike (a capable stand in for a bow thruster) stores along side the mast and provides attachment for the vertical radar reflector.
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The Minnow is powered by a Yanmar 3YM30 30 HP at 2000 rpm the engine uses a little over 1/2 gallon of diesel per hour, so together with the integral stainless main tank and the three 5 gallon jugs that are stored under the forward starboard Vee berth, Minnow has a range of approximately 360 miles. Three fill ups got us from Olympia to Alaska!

A 25 pound Mantus anchor is stowed on an aluminum bit that projects forward to clear the bow when it is deployed. There is 50 feet of 1/4” hi-test chain and 350 feet of 1/2” multi plait nylon rode that stows into an anchor locker forward of the Vee berths. The anchor locker was constructed of a sandwich of two single sheets of hypalon, one inside the other, with a heavy duty waterproof zipper sewn in to provide access. It is essentially a large “windsock that is hung from the underside of the deck, that drains into a deep sided aluminum pan that in turn drains overboard above the waterline. This arrangement worked out extremely well. A Maxwell windlass provides the lifting power, and I modified a cheap crane pendant controller as a deck remote.
there is also a 400’ spool of 1/2 poly float line on an aluminum hand drum that deploys aft on the coach roof for stern ties.
There is a spare 20 pound Columbia River type anchor and 200 feet of anchor rode securely stored below the helm station.
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Along with the built in poly tank, there are five 2.5 gallon polly jugs stored under the port forward Vee berth, and each system has its own galley foot pump. There is also a saltwater foot pump.

I got the idea for the Minnow davits from the Ranger tug davits design. It was possibly the single best addition to the boat. We sailed with an older almost blind dog and we needed a way to safely transport her to shore to do her business twice a day. When the the davits lowers the dinghy into the water it is almost rigidly secured to the swim step, and it was easy to transfer Fiddle , our dog, back and forth between the boat and dinghy.
The davits a fabricated aluminum pivoting double T-Frame, steps on the swim platform and is lifted by the mast. The original design used strap drums coupled thru the aft cross pipe to raise and lower the davits. It was an elegant solution, but it did not offer the flexibility and extra advantages of a mast and gin boom. The davits accommodates an 8 foot walker bay dinghy with a sponson collar and best of all it pivots the dinghy out to clear the swim step and then draws it back in securely over the aft deck.
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We built a fold up step inside the cockpit, and glued down 3/16” rubber gym mat to the aft cabin roof, aft walkway, and swim step to make it safer for Fiddle to get to the dinghy. We also had a poly 2’X 3’ tray with Astro turf that we could FasTek to the top of the aft cabin for her to pee on while we were underway. It detached for dunking overboard and storing under the hardtop basket. We also installed lifeline stanchions and sail rite netting on the foredeck also for doggy safety.



The aluminum swim step extends across the the transom and provides secure storage for the 2 gallon gasoline gerry can and shower area. A swim ladder mounts aft on the swim step,

We cut hatches with sliders in the foot wells of the aft cabin stateroom that provided ventilation and convenient storage when the aft cabin is not in use. This was great for shoe storage on the starboard side and storage of our Ryobi battery wet-dry vac on the port side. We had a full compliment of Ryobi 18 volt battery tools on board( a search light, 1/2” drill motor, heat gun, two personal fans, and a larger 12” cabin fan, and Bluetooth radio and wet-dry vac) there was a battery charging and storage tray above propane locker on the port side of the cockpit.
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It appears that I have exceeded the filespace for attachments so I will continue this conversation in: Minnow-- Modifications and additions Part 2 (a long winded discussion)
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homesteady
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🍿🍿🍿
Alex
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Pacific Northwest
WillieC
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Well done!
Burton
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Fantastic post! Thank you!! Very innovative mods. What brand Japanese diesel heater?
DesertAlbin736
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Yowser! That is hands down THE MOST TRICKED OUT A25 I've seen or heard of. No wonder you were able to do Alaska confidently! And I thought we'd done a lot to ours. Helps to have property where you can do the work right there at home & set up a gantry. Next best thing to having your own private Travelift. For us living in a suburban HOA tract home neighborhood where we can't even park the boat at the house overnight makes it tough to do anything more than wash & wax and an oil change. As Minnow sits in winter storage up in Alaska & you make your way back to Olympia next May we'll be on the lookout & hope to get a chance to meet you. As mentioned, by chance we're taking our boat up to Olympia in latter part of May to mid June for our last Salish Sea cruise before laying up in the Swantown Marina & Boatworks storage yard while it goes up for sale on consignment with Capital City Yachts brokerage. Look for us when you get back down to Gulf Islands, San Juans, & Puget Sound.
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La Dolce Vita
1971 Albin 25 #736
Yanmar 3GM30F
Gig Harbor Boatworks Nisqually 8 dinghy
Residence: Peoria, AZ
Homeport: Lake Pleasant, AZ & beyond
Tuckerspohr
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It would be great to get together with you. I must say the work you did on your Albin was an inspiration to us, much finer woodwork than I am capable of. Also we might even have a new addition to our fleet in Swantown marina by the time you get up there with your boat. Thinking of buying a Fisher NE30 and outfitting her in WA and then keeping her up in Alaska. We really want to get outside of Vancouver Island, and off the coast of South East, places that are a bit beyond the Minnow.
You are right though working on a boat in your backyard is an absolute luxury. Templating and measuring twenty times for the simplest little thing is a drag. Next spring I’ll bet you trailer up Rt 97 to get from AZ to Olympia. If you do, come by Bend OR and stop in and see us.
DesertAlbin736
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I beg to differ on quality of woodwork. The only real wood work I've done was the faux teak roof hatches (Iroko frames, outer layer of marine grade teak veneer Okeume ply kerfed & caulked to look like teak strips & inner layer of 1/4" birch ply. The rest was fiberglass hard top & sewing canvas. We've done virtually nothing to the interior of cockpit & cabins except redesigning the driver seat & making bench seat cushions. Certainly nothing remotely approaching the innovative & imaginative/practical touches you've put in Minnow.

One thing the previous owners of our boat did that we never attempted was to put what's now our boat but was then named "Nowell's Ark", a word play on the owned's last name, was to put boat & trailer on the ferry over to Vancouver Island (not sure if Victoria or Sidney) & drive to Port Alberni & launch there to explore the Broken Group islands on the seaward side of Vancouver Island. We have also never attempted a transit or even crossing of Strait of Juan De Fuca.

Actually we usually go the route up I-17 to Flagstaff, thence US Rt 89 up past Page, thru Kanab & Panguitch, Utah, cut over to I-15, thru Salt Lake City, on to Boise on I-84, then Pendleton, OR, Kennewick, Yakima & on to Seattle. Our first trips in 2014 & '16 we took the 405 to skirt Seattle & launched from Bellingham. Third & fourth times in 2018 & '19 we launched from Blaine. In 2019 we went up to Everett before merging with I-5 & on to Blaine. We prefer that route because it minimizes crossing hot deserts & avoids California. We will look for the Fisher 30 NE. This is motor sailor with ketch rig?
La Dolce Vita
1971 Albin 25 #736
Yanmar 3GM30F
Gig Harbor Boatworks Nisqually 8 dinghy
Residence: Peoria, AZ
Homeport: Lake Pleasant, AZ & beyond
WillieC
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We would also love to meet up one day. Let’s see how the winter projects go. You Minnow folks have a lot to share with the 25 and 27s here at AOG. Lots of folks have a couple specialties but your experience and skill level significantly raised the bar here. Just be nice to us weekend boat butchers.
ssrig
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Great blog report and a great renovation of your boat, some great ideas and pulled it off! Thanks for posting!
LopezMike
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Have you considered an autopilot? I'm completely addicted to ours and feel quite put upon if I must steer. That and my Chinese heater are the best additions we've done.
The drive across the island to the Broken Group presents one with a rather challenging hill. My old 84 Ford van struggles with it. A lot!
After the Broken Group and surrounding waters, most everything else is somewhat less interesting and convenient. We did a a bit of exploring in Nootka Sound this last summer and, although interesting because of it's novelty, we are not fond of anchoring at the head of fjords. Hundreds of feet of depth and suddenly five feet. Tedious and insecure. A lee shore with a vengeance!
Love your blue paint! Same as my steam boat. Perhaps in Caprice's future.
Mike
DesertAlbin736
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Our PO once trailered our boat, then named "Nowell's Ark", over to Port Alberni & done the Broken Group. We have never nor likely ever will cruise the Broken Group. Anywhere we "DA" we have to negotiate long 5% to 6% grade hills somwhere along the way. It's why my tow vehicle is a 3/4 ton diesel 4x4 with 325 hp Cummins with 600 ft lbs torque & weighs 7,000 lbs empty.
La Dolce Vita
1971 Albin 25 #736
Yanmar 3GM30F
Gig Harbor Boatworks Nisqually 8 dinghy
Residence: Peoria, AZ
Homeport: Lake Pleasant, AZ & beyond
LopezMike
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Home Port: Lopez Island, WA. USA San Juan Islands
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So I guess I missed something. If you have that great tow rig (dying of envy!!), why not do the Broken Group! We had a ball except for about a half a mile of steepness. We'll go back again and just launch at Pt. Alberny. Not as convenient to park the tow rig for a month at a time but that's soluble.
tribologist
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Amazing!!! Worlds finest Albin!! Thank you so very much for sharing!!!
Driftless
A25 1971 #737
South Windsor, Ct
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