Baby Steps

Yeah, we still have to take small steps, to crawl to make progress. Sometimes we go sideways and other times we back up first. I spend so much time on my hands and knees I don’t always feel like baby steps is a metaphor.  I’m calling the plate change out in the Freezer complete and actually she system seems to be better. The hold down is much, much longer!  We increased our holding plate size by about 50% going from approx 980 square inches to 1512 square inches. Of course there is some room in the plates taken up for the two independent sets of Copper tubing; how much I don’t really know.

What a fun job (sic). On a boat one gets to be a jack of all trades and rarely master of any.  I evacuated the DC side 3 times. That meant running our smallish vacuum pump for 20 plus hours each time. The first time I evacuated only the hoses to the gauges!  Then when I was ready to add refrigerant I discovered I hadn’t turned the knobs to open up the lines into the refrigeration unit.  I thought everything was going great.  The second time I at least had the valves opened up and now we’re vacuuming the unit; then as I add some refrigerant I discover a leak in one of the new lines. damn!  Ok, so I go and tighten the nuts on the Swagelok fittings. I tighten them so much that I’m afraid of breaking a tube open so I stop. Still leaking. DAMN! Only one option; pull it apart and make a new connection. When I pull it apart I discover that I didn’t put the ferrules in the fittings. They never would have been leak proof. Mike on Abake (another Westsail 42) tells me that in the trades they call that a test fitting!

After pulling the two fittings and copper tubing  apart, then  redoing the tubing, reconnecting the fittings with the ferrules this time,  I again evacuate the system and again recharge. The same place I find a very slow leak with our electronic leak checker. I tighten the fitting up and check. Still very slow. I make up a soap solution to check. I paint it on the fitting and find no bubbles. Either the leak is so low that I don’t even get any bubbles or I’m reading leftover oil or residue on the fitting. The checker is able to read a leak down to  1/2  oz / year of refrigerant and if I’m anywhere close to that I’ll be happy. We live with it.

That done we now needed to evacuate the generator side. I set it up in the engine room and thankfully with the sound deadening material I’m able to sleep while the vacuum pump is removing all the air and moisture from the system.

The following day I added the refrigerant and checked for leaks. Finally!  No leaks that I can detect on this side. We replace the insulation around the parts that need to be insulated in the engine room and start up the DC5000. Three hours later both sides are down to temperature and we’ve begun to put drinks in the refrigerator and ice in the freezer.

All this while I’m doing what I need to, to recover from my surgery. When I first got back to the boat I was to ice every hour for the first 3 days  and then every 3 hours there after. Day one wasn’t bad but by day two every hour was a PITA and on day 3 I was looking for a break. I washed up the eyelids lightly as from all the salve they were feeling greasy but when we went to the Dr. on the 3rd day he said not to do that anymore. Guess I lucked out. One week later my left eye was showing very little signs of trauma but my right eye showed that I had been in a good fight, most assumed it was with W/ and she won. 🙂

After surgery, eyes shut

After surgery, eyes shut

One week after the surgery I got my stitches out. Thank you!  Things were going along well enough that the stitches were starting to be a little irritating. And the Doc said to switch over to heating every 3 hours and massage with a prescribed cream to. I didn’t like it but II was to continue with the lubricating drops (thick) till they ran out. Finally almost another week later they were gone.

I again have eye color!

I again have eye color!

So as things progress we’re getting antsy. We’re looking at leaving this urban life and moving on to the San Blas. Our Visas are up the first week in March and we’re not sure if we’ll need to renew them or we can get a travel Zarpe to take care of us as we march across the N coast of this country.

There are a couple of necessary things to do yet on our list. Most important is a small sail repair. There are 5 load distributing straps built into the clew and 3  tore out the threads on our wild ride to Cartagena.  We’ll stitch them up this weekend. I want to make a new sail for the windvane (believe it or not the Home Store has the material), I have some shackles to add to the windvane ( the Al is bubbling the paint and the surfaces aren’t smooth anymore and chafing the control lines).  I couldn’t find a bead blaster here so the project of repainting the wind vane will have to wait. I want to strip the Al down and re-coat the castings with Awlgrip (an aircraft paint that we used when we painted the decks). Other than that there are small projects that always work their way onto the list and off. Not much different than a home except that we get to do the projects always with a new view out the hatch.  In the last few days I’ve replaced a florescent bulb  in two Alpenglow fixtures (they’re said to last forever – yeah right), I’ve tightened the bolts on the Lavac head base (still has a smallish leak so I get to do that again), I’ve tightened up a PVC fitting on the cooling system for the generator. Didn’t leak before but in the last month the parts chose to provide a small path for the water to exit the system.

Alas, it’s not all work, a great deal of time is spent meeting others and sharing life stories.  But cruising isn’t a vacation and what happens in life on land happens to us on the water, the only difference is; if we neglect some issues, we sink.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long


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