Aug 2009

Hi there,
I bought the boat in August 2009, it was located on the most western german island called Borkum. I was looking for this kind of good old boats (e.g. OE32, Marieholm 26 /32/33, GD28 and other)for quite some time. I came to know the Grate Dane some years ago from an article in a sailing magazine (Palstek).

She has the hull number 215 build in 1975 and is still equiped with the original MD2B engine.
She is in very well shape and was nicely and dry stored ashore for the past three years. She was owned by a family which sailed here for the past 28 years. That is properbly a reason why she is so well in shape. We sailed her
along the german bight to Hamburg where she will be located from now on.
Most of the items on board are still original e.g. engine, rigg, etc. Even the original dishes with Klaus Baess emblem is there.
She will be located at the river Elbe which has a high tidal current and even more dangerous plenty of ocean vessel trafic. Therefore I will replace the old engine with a new Volvo D1-20.
Find below some pictures from the journey to Hamburg.
FerrytoBorkum1.JPG Firstsight.JPG

Ferry from Emden to Borkum and Libertè in water after she was ashore for three years

May 2010

As previously mentioned we wanted to replace the old engine (MD2B) with a new one to enhance reliability for a family boat. But as every boat owner knows, it is never “just the engine” that is to be replaced. A motor replacement always comes along with new interfaces between motor and shaft, coupling, propeller shaft sealing, fuel supply, exhaust and finally electrics.

In order to reduce structural work we tried to find a motor that suits best to the old foundation. Our choice eventually was a new Volvo D1-20 which was ordered New Years Eve 2009. It had a pretty long lead time of 4 month, but because of the strong winter this year we could not start working on the “hardware” before April anyway. The new motor has got the same foundation width but is about 74mm shorter. The foundation fits very well with a longer propeller shaft when the D1-20 is placed in a way that the fwd supports are matching with the bores of the MD2B.
With the old MD2B (25hp /18,4kW) the boat was well over powered, so we were determined to choose a smaller one and using a 3-bladed propeller. The D1-20 has got 3 Cylinders with a rated shaft power of 13,3kW, which makes it much smoother running than the old two cylinder engine. Furthermore, the old engine was equipped with a two bladed propeller and considering the rudder behind the blades, this arrangement does naturally lead to torsional vibrations on the propeller shaft. Due to the fact that I am working in the business of ship propulsion systems, I had to do the propeller layout on my own (not necessarily, but as a matter of principles). For design point I chose 3kts vessel speed and 13,2kW power at 3000 rpm motor speed. The result is a 3-bladed 14 inch (355mm) propeller with 12” pitch (11.8” were calculated). The prop generates 2116N thrust in design point and 2296N under bollard pull conditions. On the trials we could see that propeller and motor do fit very well to each other, Libertè makes over 7kts with the new engine, which is pretty much the same speed that was reached with the old engine.

OldEngineMD2B.JPG OldEngineOut.JPG NewEngine1.JPG

Removal of the old engine was surprisingly not difficult, bolts and nuts of the motor supports were easy removed. It just revealed what else had to be done to finalize the job. It became clear to us that motor replacement means basically to renew also half of the boat electrics, but we were not happy with the old system anyway. So we decided to rip out everything except for the very original cables.

NewEngine2.JPG NewEngine3.JPG NewEngineInPlace.JPG

Fortunately it was not necessary to do changes to the motor foundation.
We just had to cut new threaded bores into the old foundation. However, we were lucky, in 7 out of 8 bores the drill went into the original steel bars that were laminated into the hull structure.
After taping the new bores, the motor was finally fixed in a position in which the coupling had best achievable alignment. Alignment with feeler gauge took about 3 hours. When ever you tighten the bolts after alignment you will find that the motor has moved! The boat was formerly equipped with a packing shaft sealing with grease injection. Instead of the old sealing we placed a modern lip sealing that was mounted by using an adaptor for the stern tube. When checking the fuel tank, we found that it was made of mild steel and that there were rust holes in the upper part of the tank. We replaced it with a new one made of chrome steel, taylor made in the same shape.

NewShaftSealing.JPG NewPropeller.JPG
New 3-Bladed Propeller (14x12) and new Double-Lip-Sealing (Volvo Standard). I am very pleased with the tightness of the new sealing. Much better than the old grease lubricated package sealing.

When replacing the engine, it is important to check the cabeling and power distribution. For example the old MD2B was equipped with a 40Amps generator. The new D1-20 has got a generator that makes 115 Amps. Hence the system must be updated with new power distributor, cables and fuses that are applicable to resist the high charging current. Another important point is the venting valve in the discharge piping of the cooling water pump. It must be placed in a way that it is always above the water level (even when sailing under worst conditions), or else water may leak into the precious new engine.

Back view of Main Switch arrangement

The water / exhaust collector was placed in a rather unusual location. Since there is not enough space behind the engine, we could not place the collector properly on the aft side. The height difference between motor exhaust outlet and collector would have been to small. What we did was to place it the other way round below the motor. In that way it always maintains the required distance in height from the motor exhaust.

Exhaust-Water-Collector arranged underneath motor and sea water filter in front

Since the old electrical switchboard was in poor shape, we decided to place a new proper switchboard with thermal fuses. The old system had just one battery main switch for the starter battery which is a bit old fashioned. We implemented a second main switch for the auxiliary battery and added fuses to both circuits. The starter battery main switch I think was not clever arranged. The switch can simply flip over in case something is pushed against it due to vessel rolling or just accidentally and that would lead to a generator damage when the engine is running. Thus we added a safety guard that covers both switches in a very simple way (see pictures).

New Switchboard (Philippi) and Main Switch Cover (self made)

Mid of July 2010 most of the work was finalized and Libertè was relaunched. Eventually we managed to have some short weekend sail trips on the river and an engine test run down to Brunsbüttel were the Kiel Canal (NOK) beginns.

April 2011

newrig2.jpg newrigplan.pdf mastsupport1.jpg

Beginning of this year we have found a good rigger and established a new Selden Rig on our Libertè. She is now equipped with a furling foresail and single line reef on the main sail, check out the new rig plan in the center. To the right you can find the modifications that we have done to the mast support in order to make it fit to the modern rig. Due to time constrains we were pretty much in a rush to get the modification done. We did the welding just the night before the mast was installed.

May 2012

We are currently working on a hull refit. Libertè will not be launched this year.
We have removed the old teak deck, which had become leaky in some areas. Instead of teak we are planning to put Flexiteek, which is an artificial alternative. She will get a full hull refit including sand blasting and profesional painting.
I will write about our new project later on and place some pictures.

June 2012


It was damn hard work to get the old teak removed from the deck. The wood was bolted and glued onto the fiberglas deck. Especially the glue was so strong that occasionally fiber was pulled from the deck. A piece of work we would never have finished without the help of a proper multitool.

August 2012

before_sandblasting.jpg sandblasted.jpg

Looked almost like a wreck before she was brought to sandblasting. Everything had been removed, from seacocks to windows. The picture to the right shows her after sandblasting.

November 2012


Most important to us was to refurbish the connection between hull and deck. When we removed the teak we found that hull and deck were connected by means of a flange interface. The deck was bolted to the hull and in between the flange they had put the same kind of sealing glue that was used to fix the teak. In some location we had found the connection leaky while sailing on the edge or after strong rain. Therefore the idea had risen to furbish a new fiberglas connection between deck and hull as shown on the picture above.

August 2013

almost_completed.jpg portside.jpg

The ship yard did a brilliant job on the hull refurbishment (Peter Wrede Yacht Painting / Wedel)

flexiteek2.jpg flexiteek3.jpg

It took a long while until the Flexiteek was installed and meanwhile we put alot of work into the cockpit wood. The hatches have been treaded with Owatrol D1 and D2. Furthermore they are now fixed with proper hindges where we had to build extra spacer to make up the gap. As special item we have added a removable wood where a traveller for the main sheet is mounted. I never liked the old design where the main sheet is conected to the binnacle stand. The old wooden binnacle stand will be equipped with a Garmin Chartplotter, in above picture the support for the plotter is already mounted.

cockpit_1.jpg cockpit_2.jpg

May 2014

2014-1(1).jpg 2014-1.jpg

Many working hours later Libertè is finally launched.

August 2016

We have mounted another beautiful toy to our Libert'e. She is now equipped with a WINDPILOT selfsteer wind vane.

windpilot-1.jpg windpilot-2.jpg

Amazing how it works.


We thought it was much more complex to put in operation and adjust to the wind, but actually it turned out to be very simple.
It steers pretty accurate even on close-hauled courses at 1-2 Beaufort. On free wind courses it needs little more to steer accurate due to the back pressure form the sheets and sprayhood.

May 2018

Level_1.jpg Level_2.jpg
Level_3.jpg Level_4.jpg

We have added a self made level monitoring system. It always felt uncomfortable not to know what the tank levels are. The sensors are of two different kinds. The Diesel sensor is a pressure transmitter 0-50mbar, I did not want to take out the Diesel Tank again and cut a hole for a sensor, therefore it was a good option to use an pressure sensor and place it in the suction piping. The transmitter is an industrial type and I was lucky to purchase it quite inexpensive on ebay. The Water sensor is a reed-contact swimmer type (Philippi). Both sensors feed an Arduino microcontroller. The programming and electronic works are self made. This has been my first piece of work with microcontroller, it has been challenging but also very interesting. If you want to learn more about the possibilities of this technology than you should check out this link:

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