In and Out: Never stop No. 7 pt 1

Yeah, that is a reference to an old Woody Allen movie. The characters are learning about bedroom exercises by reading a book. Well, that reference too is relatable to cruising. We’ve been hanging here a Banyuwedang, on the N end of Bali. We stopped here wanting a calm anchorage. We found the calm anchorage… with heaps of wind.

We can live with the wind, the boat rolling is no fun and getting anything done on a rolling boat is next to impossible. If an emergency existed in a rolling anchorage we would deal with it. Luckily there is no emergency.

While traveling the N coast with our dinghy on the davits (not where Dave likes to carry it) Elysium squats as she motors. Checking the bilge I noticed a very slow trickle of water. On boats, water is best left outside. Having lived this experience before I knew it was the rudder post stuffing box. It has not been snugged down in a few years. Time for a smallish turn of the bolts on the box.

I try not to move everything.

To open up the locker for larger projects we needed to move the mattress’ and two full berth toppers out to the salon. Then I can make the adjustment. When I opened up the compartment I also checked the steering system. Oh -oh! One cable glide is not turning at all. It was stuck. The cable was dragging over the glide (roller) as we moved the rudder. There was a tell tale sign. Fine metal dust was directly underneath the glide gathering on the hull. Added to the list as unplanned.

I tightened the stuffing box and continued to inspect our steering system. The starboard side was fine. I used T-9 silicon spray on the guides. Five out of six guides were in good nick (as the Australians like to say) . The sixth; after spraying lubricant, still stuck. I removed the cable from the steering quadrant, and tried to move the guide by hand. Definitely stuck, I sprayed, moved, sprayed, moved, and eventually I was able to get loosen it up. Nothing like it ought to be.

The question was: ought we live with a sticky guide till we’re at a Marina in Malaysia and hope everything continues to work, or fix it now? We choose to fix it. The following problem was do I need to remove the plate holding the 4 guides to remove the one guide? Oops, my stomach is talking to me now. We’re into early afternoon.

We hauled the mattress’ back and began getting ready for the evening. We wanted our aft cabin back. The following morning we deconstructed the berth again. I believed I needed to remove the entire quadrant panel. I open the compartment; again, and begin to check what and how many bolts I would need to remove. First however, I remove the cables from the rudder quadrant. I tie the rudder off so it will not swing and bang against the stops. While looking at the other guide I am able to suss out that the guide’s are bolted to the plate. Yippee! I don’t need to remove the plate, I can remove the guides individually. An hour later the guide is out and cleaning begins. Not finished but we are making progress. We put the aft cabin back together for another evening.

This item is used to adjust the Steering Wheel and how tight the cable is to the helm.

The following am we take the aft cabin apart and I install the guide. Lubricate it with T-9 and attach the steering cables. The guide now turns freely. With cables reconnected W/ turns the helm as far as it will go and leans on it. We tighten the cables just enough so if there is heavy weather and we are steering the cable will not fall out of the guides. She leans on port, then on starboard. I adjust the cable tension and we’re back in business. We put the aft cabin back together.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

In and Out: Never Stop No 7 pt 2

1501_Lighthouse_Motor
Outside she looked good; inside, not so much.

Again… the next morning I begin removing items from our sail locker. Our Lighthouse Windlass has been talking to me the last year or two, Help! Take care of me! It was time. After moving the majority of items from the sail locker into the main salon I climbed through the sail locker into the chain locker (boat yoga) and disconnected the motor. Time to clean and check it. Before we left the states I had ordered spare parts. I had all the maintenance bulletins from Lighthouse. I was ready. But, not ready for what was inside. With the motor off I opened it and inside was a gooey black mess. First order was restraining the brushes so I could remove the armature from the case. With zero direction and no visual cues on how to get the brushes pushed back to insert a small wire for restraint I struggled. My dexterity frustration manifested verbally. Finally I retained the brushes, then I could remove the armature from the motor body. Time to clean. It was a real mess. W/ complained. I guess complaining was preferable to crying! I and we did our best to limit the mess. But, like most gooey stuff on a boat, the smallest little dab of anything creeps across one’s body like a disease and then leaps to anything near by. My shirt, pants, socks, the floor, and cushions had small black greasy spots. While trying to clean any spot, the spot grew 10 times the original size before giving up. (Luckily we were able to remove the marks off our cushions.) Some of my clothes will end up in the trash, the cabin sole cleaned up fine. Cleaning the motor required two days. Put the stuff back in the locker. Store the half cleaned motor where the mess will not migrate. Enjoy the rest of the day.

While we have a HUGE number of tools on board we don’t have a cleaning station for parts. It would be nice to have a spray station and a place I can hold the part inside to really get it clean. Wishing will not make it happen. A bucket and toothbrush was the best we could do. Again, watching for the little specks of black greasy material flicking off the toothbrush made the time eventful. W/ worrying about the black spots, me wanting to get the item clean. For us, clean enough.

The next morning I clear the locker out … again and we finish cleaning the motor. I used brake cleaner which has been touted by many a mechanic as the best. However, I have had a can stored for over a year and there was no longer any spray pressure. The can was still full. I removed the useless top and drilled two holes in the can. Now I could shake / pour the solution onto the armature. It worked well.

Putting the armature back in the motor was another exercise In frustration. Two bolts that hold the motor together extend from the top to the bottom. There is no way to see where the threaded end goes in. Alignment is by feel. Yet the bolts have square ends and finding the designated holes to screw the two pieces together is another exercise in frustration. Somehow I I find the threaded socket and the motor is restored. I pull the wires holding the brushes back and bingo… the motor ought to be better than last week. I hope.

Last week we had anchored at Lovina, Bali. In about 15’ of water. And when I pulled the anchor up the windlass was struggling. Five meters of chain and a 40 kg anchor ought not give the system any problem Yet it did. Ideally the system has a 3,000 lb working load. I was trying to lift, oh maybe, 125 lbs. So yes, it was time to do this.

Put the locker back together. Tomorrow we will attach the motor and cables. Test it out.

And tomorrow I empty the locker out. I worried all night that I had misplaced a piece of the system. I couldn’t recall seeing the coupling. In the morning I check and there is the coupling. At the time I had forgotten, there was also a second coupling. With the locker emptied out I crawled into the chain locker and lifted the motor into place. It’s quite heavy and my boat yoga isn’t what is use to be. We ran a line down the chain tube and W/ was able to use it as a sling for the motor, snug the line shorter or longer depending on where the motor was at; all while I put the retaining screws back on. It went too well. I should have worried. I wasn’t. I connected the wires up, crawled out and flipped the switch to test the windlass.

On deck I depressed the down foot switch. The motor ran. I depressed the up switch, the motor ran. What didn’t function was the gypsies and drums. The motor ran but the windlass wasn’t functioning. For those that know me, I was like Sarge in a Beetle Bailey comic strip. Words alone didn’t satisfy my frustration. What was I missing. Time to look at the exploded diagram for the windlass. As my cruising bro Dirk likes to say “RTFM”. Read the F—— Manual.

Windlass Couplings
See..there are two couplings

I was missing a coupling. There are two. Oh-Oh. Where is the other one. Sometimes I’m lucky, sometimes I’m not. This time I was lucky. I knew it was not lost, just overlooked or misplaced. I looked in the chain locker and there it was laying agains the hull. I Slide it on. It doesn’t slide well. Neither coupling now slid well on the extension. Somehow I dinged the key way near as I can tell. Pull it out, file a bit and slide. Better. Not perfect however. Put it on; or attempt to. Got the coupling installed in the upper part but can’t get the lower part to line up right. Ok remove it and start over. But, the coupling is now stuck in the upper part. Now what do we do?

Extension too is full of Grease
Downtube Full of Grease

We put everything away and think about it. The next morning I discuss with W/, the only thing to do is to remove the windlass, remove the tube and get the piece off. With the winds blowing in the 20 kt range I was running between the foredeck and the locker. I take everything back out again … of the sail locker. Fortunately none of the parts are light enough to blow away. Remove the bolts and pull the windlass. Flip it over and remove the extension tube. First I need to find the C – clip tool. (I never understand how some people cruise without several lockers full of tools). I find it, open the clip up and pull the key for the extension. Remove the extension tube and YUCK. It too is full of grease. W/ takes it and the coupling to clean. Heading back to the cockpit she accidentally drops the coupling on the deck. Lucky it landed on the deck! Unlucky it dropped. We now have black grease on the rubber non skid. I get the Mineral Spirits and clean the nonskid, she cleans the tube. As I have several spare parts for the windlass I locate a new seal for the tube. We replace it and put it back together. Our last tube of Silicone sealer is getting low. We seal all the designated areas and reinstall the windlass with two bolts holding it in place. Our Silicone is out. Replacing it here would not be easy.

I go below and using the rope technique we lift the motor with the coupling and extensions into place. Somehow we get everything lined up and slide it up the tube. The motor does not reach the point it is designed to be at. DAMN! I push and shove, tap with a nylon headed hammer and it still sits about 2 cm below its designed point. I tighten the boltanyway. It feels solid. No wiggle, no twisting. Nothing. If we come close to 1/2 of its capacity it will be good. I turn the breaker on and check. Deploy and retrieve work well. No loads. Motor seems solid. Put everything away.

1501 Lighthouse Tube Extesion
Seal at top of 1501 Tube Extension

We’re not finished yet. The rest of the windlass bolts need installation. The windlass sits on a SS platform we added in NZ. At least it is easier now than it was 10 years ago to remove and install it. I discover that I need again to remove the drum and gypsy to put the center bolt in on both sides. Two days ago we had the drum and gypsy off to clean them and the clutches. Fortunately we coated the screws with Durlaac. (If you should use this great product be careful when you read the MDS- it can scare the crap out of you!) This product however allows us to remove and reuse hardware even after years of neglect. I too often push the envelope on maintenance schedules. I install the bolt ends. One side goes on well. Wouldn’t you know it! The other I put the bolt cap on and the gypsy and drum will not slide over it. We discover two almost identical pieces one shorter than the other. I remove the long one and switch with the short from the corner. The shorter one now is in the center and finally the gypsy will slide across the top. With the windlass installed and secured in place it is time to test. W/ and I check the depth and plan on deploying 15 m of chain. We’re in about 18 m of water and we don’t want to snag any coral on the bottom. That length plus the anchor is close to what we need to lift as we travel for the next few months.

Deploying the anchor too became an exercise in frustration. As I had moved my body in an out of the locker I moved chain. I needed room for me and room to work. As I moved the chain I stacked chain on chain in a way that made deploying the chain impossible. We had a chain knot in the anchor locker. The plan; W/ would release a bit of chain, I would run below, move chain, jerk chain free, and she would try to release more. In the end we connected a chain hook to the chain and W/ used a winch to lift/pull it out of the locker. Pull some out, let some down, run below, unpile more chain and repeat. Finally we had 15 m out. Time to test.

Lighthouse 1501 Testing
Engaging the Lighthouse 1501 Footswitch

We engaged the retrieve foot switch and began hauling the anchor and chain back aboard. After a few seconds we stopped and I checked the motor attachment. The motor has not rotated on the extension tube. FANTASTIC! All appears good; at least for now. We haul the chain and anchor aboard. The windlass even pulls the anchor on board over the roller. It has not been strong enough to do that for at least a couple of years. All is good. Chain and anchor stowed. It is time to clean up, put everything away and take a break.

What a job!

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Work Continues

We’ve been making progress. At the speed of a Sloth; oops wrong continent. At the speed of a Koala. 🙂 Checked our fuel tanks and ordered diesel.

Developing countries are missing infrastructure that makes boating easy. We know of no marine fueling stations anywhere in central or eastern Indonesia. We jerry can all the fuel to the boat. The process is, dig out the containers, dinghy to shore, get a taxi to the station, fill up, load containers back in taxi and then dinghy. At boat lift them up to the deck and finally siphon the diesel through a water particle separator into the tank. It is NOT an easy process. And it is not a clean process. No matter what; we spill diesel on the deck and need to clean it up. Luckily, in American Samoa I bought a stack of fuel absorbent pads. We do our best to keep diesel out of the environment.

We ordered 350 liters of diesel and 30 liters of petrol. The petrol is for the dinghy engine. When we leave the boat for extended periods we don’t keep any petrol aboard. Petrol goes bad and is also way too explosive to have sitting around unattended. Since the boat is on the hard the diesel was delivered to the boat and left on the ground in 40 liter containers. The deck of the boat, where the fuel fill is; is 3 + meters off the ground. We needed to lift 700 lbs of fuel on to the boat to add diesel to the tanks. W/ used a winch to haul them each up to the deck level. I tied them on, she cranked, I climbed up the ladder and guided them into place. Climbed back down the ladder and tied the next one on. We did this early morning while it was much cooler. Sweat was pouring off us. It is hot here. We returned to the room, showered and had breakfast.

The next task was siphoning fuel into the filter and then the boat. W/ checked how much fuel was in each tank. We have three tanks. I then adjust which tank to fill. And while filling ran the fuel polisher. We began filling one wing tank. All went well for the first 40 liters. I switched to the other wing tank. After about 20 liters we were getting sputters out the fill. The tank wasn’t breathing. Each tank has a vent. This prevents air locks and allows filling and using the fuel to be problem free. We need to clean up the diesel on deck and discover why the tank wasn’t venting.

We had this once before. Mud Daubers (wasps) had built a nest inside the vent hose. When we left 8 months ago W/ thinks that I had put a piece of gauze in the vent to keep the critters out . The gauze wasn’t there. Birds or weather may have removed it. No matter what, I needed to ensure the hose was clear. And as any reader knows, I do NOT love working with hoses. First order was to clear a path to reach the hose fittings. Where I really suspected the issue was it was a difficult place to reach . I choose a place in the middle of the vent hose run. There I could check it much easier. And if the issue wasn’t there I could reassemble and search elsewhere. Fighting the hose, hose clamp and barbed connection was not fun. After a few scrapes and scratches colored with blood ; I had the hose off. As I disconnected the hose air escaped the tanks for a few seconds. The tanks breathed a sigh of relief. Well, I’ve not found the blockage. I now know it is blocked.

And blocked where I thought it would be. I tried exhaling through the hose. Nope. It was completely blocked. Now I needed to get at the fitting that vents the tanks at the hull. Move more stuff. Loosen the clamp. Pull like hell. Eventually with a slew of kind words (yeah right), and more sweat, I was able to dislodge the hose. I take a few different pointed instruments that I can get in place and begin pushing and poking. I break up the mud at the vent entrance that the wasps left. Just to be clear. I couldn’t do this easily from out the hull as the vent has a 90º turn. A few minutes later it seems I’ve cleared the hose. I reattach the hose, return to the mid section and exhale through it. Good: it is clear. Great! Put everything back together and we again add fuel to the tanks. To provide some perspective, from loading the fuel on, discovering the vent, cleaning the vent, clean up spilt – splattered fuel, reattaching the hoses, refueling, and washing the deck afterwards. We spent a good part of the day on this job.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Contrasts

Our lives are an adventure in polar opposites. We hauled the boat and had secured an AirBnB near by. Walking distance. A week before we hauled the AirBnB owner called to let us know that a contractor had informed him of an earlier start. The unit would not be available. Oh-oh. That was the bad news.

A couple of tennis friends we have shared much time with had gone to the UK for a few months. They kindly offered their place for us to stay while the boat is being hauled out. We accepted. While a bit farther away, we still have the car. Driving to the new and walking to the old was about the same time.

And best of all, when working on the boat we would be tracking less yard dirt and crud into the boat. We could leave it cluttered with tools when we left and begin where we left off when we return.

And yet mother nature had other plans. We knew the weather predictions. We also know that Mother Nature either doesn’t read or doesn’t care what the weather service expects to happen. Four days after we hauled, the rains set in. And they stayed. For an entire week. So much so that not only was boat work stymied, tennis too was cancelled many times.

What little could be done on the boat was accomplished.

When we hauled I had a seacock that a contractor had cracked the bolt attaching the handle. I didn’t do anything with it till we hauled out. A seacock is the beefy Bronze item that keeps water out of the boat and allows water to pass through the hull into the sea. So I waited until now. When the boat is out of the water working on this is much safer.

I thought the easiest would be to drill the end of the bolt, and use an Easy Out to remove the screw. I couldn’t get the drill centered well. I drilled anyway. I was able to get a couple of left handed bits at the nuts and bolt store. What luck. Drilling with the left handed bit would help ease the bolt end out. It did not move. I put in the easy out and twisted. The easy out didn’t hold. I needed to drill a larger hole and then use a larger Easy Out. To do that I would most likely damage the threads. The alternative was to remove the fitting. Fortunately we have kept every paper that came with parts for the boat. We have 9 folders full of manuals, instructions, and details. There was a diagram of the parts. I removed the piece.

Next, I needed a machine shop to remove the bolt and then I could reassemble everything. Remember, we live a life of contrasts. I first went to Jock at the Scarborough chandlery. I asked two questions: Where is a good machine shop to get the bolt out and can I order another replacement item.

For the most part Australia has been a wonderland of boat supplies. The seacocks we use are Groco, high quality bronze – US made. They are available here, in limited places, and pricey. It is a boat. What did I expect. First,

Innards of a Groco Bronze Seacock

Jock told me of a machine shop owned by a cruiser. Sweet. Second he would make some calls and see about the part. I gave him the part number. Hopped in the car, W/ and I drove to the shop. Always take W/ , she is much better dealing with people than I am. 🙂 We couldn’t find it the first time and called on the phone. W/ did. After chiding us for not finding it; he said he had been there for decades. He would stand out by the street making sure we didn’t…. drive by…. again.

We showed him the item and as any good machinist would do, said he would try. We left it with him and returned to the boat. We stopped at the chandlery again and Jock informed us that there are no parts available for the Groco in Australia. I could buy a new one, but not the part. Add that to my list. It is however still raining. I wasn’t yet ready to call the US, find the part and have it air freighted over. We do have a daily yard rate while hauled. 🙁 On to the next task while awaiting the results of this one.

Lubricating the seacocks. They need to be lubricated so when and if there is an issue with any leaks one can turn the handle and shut out all water. While in the past I had Rube Goldberged the process, this time I was doing them right. I had purchased two small grease guns that never, ever seemed to work properly. Again W/ and I hopped in the car looking to buy a real, full size grease gun. We did and proceeded to load it with grease and complete the next task. Now to get the Zerk fittings to grease the seacocks. Found them! Great. The 90º fitting fell apart. Some of the Seacocks were in; not impossible, but hard to reach places and I needed that elbow.

Back to the Chandlery. Jock didn’t have any with imperial threads. Remember, I said this was a US made product. The only suggestion was Zackleys; where I bought the left handed drill bits. Off I go. Here I got lucky; they had Zerk fittings with elbows and imperial threads! They didn’t have any straight fittings with imperial but my straight ones were ok. I bought a couple; always good to have extras and back to the boat I went. W/ and I began the process of lubricating all the remaining Seacocks. I love when things work and now they opened and closed easily.

The following morning we stopped by the machine shop. Ian, the owner came out with a shiny piece and the stud still in it . He showed me the corrosion and said no matter what, this would not keep water out. The best he could suggest was a new one. My head was spinning considering the cost of shipping from the US, the shipping time; sourcing the supplier; I didn’t like it. He suggested he could make a duplicate out of 316 SS. How much; $100! Hell, shipping the fastest way from the US would cost more than that! I asked him to make two. With a spare on board, that would guarantee never having another issue. That is what sailors believe, and I’m sticking to it.

Friday we picked up two new parts and I reassembled the seacock. Add the grease and celebrate one of the jobs completed.

Next: fix the water line with the Aqua – Coat, Fix the blisters, Paint the bottom and relaunch.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juggling in Paradise

Cruising isn’t all Sunsets and Mojitos. Cruisers often refer to life on the boat as “Projects in Paradise”.  And while a good part of both views are true; there are frustrations. Today is one of the many holidays in Oz. A month or so ago we discovered our depth sounder doesn’t work. As we’re not leaving immediately we added that to the project list and began to address the issue.
 
I had the same thing happen in Fiji. The TackTick read “Reset data”. There I replaced the battery and bingo. We were back in business. Not that easy but not bad. Thus, I ordered a new battery pack. That was after I discovered Battery World couldn’t make / replace the batteries. The cost went form 50 bucks or so to 100. Ok, life isn’t easy or cheap when traveling thus I bought the new pack. Installed it. Now I have a good battery but I still get the notice “reset data”. I did some web research and found my old post on the same issue. But; I discovered a Raymarine response on their website that when the unit does this it needs repair.
 
I called Raymarine and after a bit of discussion they would repair / replace the unit for $450 bucks. Fill out the web form and send it in. Well… my cruising brother Dirk told me years ago, in industry the rule of thumb is when the cost to repair exceeds about 40% , industry replaces with new. A new TackTick display would be $800. I bought a new display.
 
Received it 10 days later, all looks good and fire it up. Good charge and yet it does not connect to the base unit. I try everything. I try to be inventive with the 4 buttons. Still it will not connect to the master unit. I check the master unit; there is power there, I get a program to check radio signals and I have wifi from the unit. It still will not connect. I get out my old wired Display and try it. It will not connect.
 
I dig out the replacement mn-30 we bought while in Fiji. (See my way earlier post on this issue). I tried to connect it to the unit. Still no data. I search around, check the wiring on the transmitter. All good, voltage to it, good, transducer wiring solid. Check the transducer. It is a shoot through the hull and has worked flawlessly for 15 years. The fluid that transmits the sonar to the hull has slowly leaked out / evaporated. I replace it and try. Still no connection. I reset the mn-30, still no connection. I try the new unit I purchased, still unable to connect.
 
More research and I discover that the hull transmitter too has a battery. Maybe that is why the display has no signal. I leave the hull transmitter connected to power for 24 hours to charge and still no connection. I call Raymarine Australia. Guess what. They’ve shut down for the holidays.
 
Ok, I remove the hull transmitter and sure enough there is a battery opening on the back. Nothing in the literature indicates a battery there. Luckily I have a new battery. I put it in the older unit. The older unit doesn’t work so I figure to swap it out. I do. Reattach everything and still no signal to the display.
 
Now I think to my self. Dangerous; I know. When I was considering sending in the older unit for repair I believe I replaced the old battery. That means that I have now put an old battery in the hull transmitter. My head is spinning! I check the voltage on the three battery packs I have out, 1.2 v; 1.8 v, and the one I removed from the hull transmitter; 2.2 v. The pack when full ought to read 3.0 v.
 
I left the hull unit connected to power all night.
 
Again I am thinking.. more research. I check my blog entry in Fiji. I mentioned I had not installed the new hull transmitter yet I wanted to get the older one working. Damn, where is the new one we bought in Fiji. I check our inventory. The inventory has saved us many hours of hunting for things. But! Not today. We do not have anything listed under TackTick or Raymarine. Ok… the hunt is on. I can’t believe it; I find a newer mn-100 that we must have been using since NZ.  I had forgotten about it. I bring the display out and try to connect. It doesn’t connect either. Now I have 3 displays that do not connect to one hull transmitter; mn 30, mn 100, and an mn 100-2.
 
There is only one thing to do. Replace it all and make sure everything works. I return the display and order a new TackTick system.
 
All the while the wx here is … sorry… crappy! Rain and wind, wind and rain. The end result is that we are getting nothing done on the outside wood work. Patience Grasshopper, Patience. (Sorry about the reference to the old Kung Fu TV show).
Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Cruising Maintenance Magic

Well, at least one trick. Working on our home often means working in uncomfortable places (Boat Yoga) and doing near impossible jobs. Here is where the trick comes in.

If you haven’t discovered Butyl it is time you do. The stuff is magic. First it is even sticky when wet. I was searching for an impeller blade in my heat exchanger. I didn’t want to remove the exchanger and plumbing. It was wet still in where the blade had settled. I could feel the blade in the opening but couldn’t retrieve it. I tried a thin wire, tried an allen wrench, everything I could think of I tried. Then the light bulb went off! I took a small piece of Butyl and stuck it to the end of my finger. Then gingerly dipped my finger in the hose opening, pressed to the blade and slowly, slowly withdrew my finger with the blade attached. Voila!

 Butyl keeps screws in place.

Today I was twisting around in a small area working in the electrical cabinet. I had a terminal strip in there where I would make multiple electrical connections. Those damn small screws are real PITA! I remember Butyl. A little dab will do you. About the size of a pin head I stuck it in the screw slot. Then insert the driver and bingo! I could hold the screw in place until I could begin to thread it in. What a life saver.

So; do yourself a favor, find where Butyl is sold near you and pick some up. That is; if you want to make short work of frustrating projects.

 

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Chain Galvanized – Done!

Looks a little ....bad
What she looked like after 8 years

The anchor chain project…. complete. We hauled the main chain up to Bundaburg for new galvanizing and what a job they did. Excellent! Approx $1 buck per lb. It actually came back looking shiny (almost)

We carried the chain in the passager footwells
A lot of extra weight.

and like new. Yep, it took two trips. We did however make mini vacations out of the trips. W/ found one wonderful AirBnB and another that was only a place to sleep.

Returning the chain to the boat required two carts. Same as from the boat to the car. We used cardboard and plastic to protect the

The chain markers we use
This tells us how much chain we have out of the boat.

upholstery and loaded it in the middle of the vehicle. Once returned to the boat we laid it out on the dock and added colored webbing to the links every 25’. These small webbing pieces sewn on a link last forever and run fine through the chain gypsy. I can’t tell you enough how great they are. The down side is that the company we purchased them from at a boat show no longer sells the kits. 🙁

One key ingredient all boaters need to do is to secure the bitter end of the chain. Too often I hear of some newbee who lost their anchor rode/chain while out for the days adventure. Most likely

Chain Stopper
Teak Donut connects to the bitter end

an adventure they never wanted. I’ve actually found lost anchors while snorkeling. Sometimes there would even be barnacles growing on the anchor rode or chain by the time I discovered it.

To save your anchor and your day, take some small line (1/4” 5 or 6mm ought to be good), strong enough that it will hold the chain and anchor as dead weight. Run the line out of the chain locker a fair bit on deck, double it and add a few cm’s to it. Next there ought to be a hole, or slit in a bulkhead or major structural member for this line to be attached to. I don’t attach mine directly to the bulkhead. Instead I made a teak donut. I loop the line through the donut and back on itself making a secure connection. Run the double line through the bulkhead up and out the chain pipe. The reason I use a donut is that if somehow the bulkhead fails the donut will stop at the chain pipe and stop. Also, using a long enough line, should I need to cut it, the end of the chain will pass over the gypsy and hang by the line. I can then cut the line. And last; if the fecal material hits the fan as it did for us in Suva, Fiji, letting the chain rip out , the line will snap. Then you’ll have a speedy exit

Only cast off your chain on purpose… and I hope you never need to.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Back Together… Almost

Putting it all back together was a step forward, wait, step forward, wait process. We would paint an area with primer, wait for it to dry, then paint with engine paint. After it dried I was able to put on one more part. In shops they would put all the parts on, and spray the entire engine. Manufacturers are able to rotate it, get under, turn it to get in the small places, and all the while spray. At manufacturing facilities they electrically charged the paint and the engine. All the paint ends up attracted to the engine and goes where it belongs. On a boat; not so much. I used a brush and sometimes a roller on the bottom of the oil pan. There wasn’t much room between the oil pan and the engine sump. That often required a couple of days to cover, and avoiding getting more paint on my arms than the oil pan. I would paint, let dry, take a mirror and scout the area for what I missed, then paint again. The pan itself required three times to cover it all. More detail are on the April 25, 2020 post.

While this was happening we began the refrigeration removal. In an older post I discussed the removal of the holding plates. With that completed we began to remove all the Copper tubing and connections. Of course care was needed to remove any pressurized refrigerant left in the system. Yet, as I indicated before I was always dealing with a leak and could never trace them all down. Thus there wasn’t enough refrigerant left in the system to be dangerous. As I was removing parts I discovered two connections that were suspect. I had never found them leaking prior. One was in the engine driven compressor line. The Copper tubing slipped when I was first installing it. For a decade there was a poor seat with the double furled Swedge Lok fittings. Another suspect spot was in the DC side on one of the expansion valves. Thus W/ and I spent a couple of days pulling all the Copper out and cutting off the ends. I saved the Swedge Loks but W/ wonders what for. Most likely they will go to the recyclers too. We hauled the Copper to the re-cyclers and the money reinvested in new hoses for the Perkins.

After we removed the Copper, expansion valves, and plates it was time to assess. The good news, look at

Bad Wood – Gone!

all the room we now have! The bad news, some of the wood where the Copper tubing ran through was soft, very, very soft. More wood under the expansion valves was so soft I could push my finger into it. Surprise, Surprise, Surprise. Damn!

This discovery added a speed bump to our refrigeration project. And a new project added to the list. Cut out the old soft wood, grind the old tabbing off and replace it all with new. As this project bounced around in my head W/ and I discussed other changes that might improve life aboard. What would we do with the old DC 5000 Compressor locker? We hope we could fit all three Engel compressors in the locker where the valves were. And to ensure that locker had enough room we could move the Exeltech Inverter. Inverters closer to the batteries – GOOD. The rest of the locker would be storage for staples.

More stuff to remove, and more to move. We pulled out the DC5000 compressor and the wiring. Tinned boat wire is always valuable and kept in boat spares. We too needed to remove the inverter. No inverter; no use of any 110 volt tools we have. Sometimes lady luck visits us. We had purchased a small ProSport portable inverter in the states. This might now be of some use. That has smallish inverter has worked flawlessly when we’ve needed. Every year for 10 years.

(Any future world cruisers reading this; ensure your boat is wired for both 220 and 110 volt systems. It is very, very costly to have a 110 volt product shipped to foreign lands. )

With everything removed we tackled the next project. Tenting, Grinding, replacing bad wood.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

Maintenance in Paradise

While we were replacing the cooling system on the trusty diesel, we also researched refrigeration systems. In the end, Engel was what we settled with; three Engels. Their reputation was excellent. Evaporators are the achilles heal. Avoiding puncturing the evaporator the system might last 40 years. Well, that is, some Engels have worked for 40 years in the Australian Woop Woop (the Australian Outback). While not quite equal to the marine environment; it is harsh still.

Once the Perkins Bowman box arrived our boat (home) was knee deep with…stuff. Parts removed from the engine and parts to go on were everywhere. W/ tried to contain all of them under the dining table. The first order of business was to inventory and understand what each part was. Trans Atlantic Diesel has excellent support. With the kit they provided a video of the parts inventory and how to install. Tis always nice to have directions. They were around to answer any question by email. Luckily they only skipped one answer. Remember; this project is in the middle of Covid. Covid is not as bad in Australia as the US. Covid hit the US hard. And I did figure the answer out … eventually . TAD is forgiven. In the end; the words of my cruising brother flash florescent in my head: RTFM. Read the F——, Manual. 🙂

Before actual parts removal was an unwelcome task. And one that I really, really hate – draining the cooling system. We do have an engine sump but still, it is a wet, messy job. I will want to do something about upon rebuild. We drained the coolant, disposed of it at the marina’s waste disposal area and began removing parts.

As in most boat work projects ; when one project begins another one or two show their ugly head. Removing the parts, holding a new part in place to check it out, screamed out to us… PAINT THE ENGINE. Seriously! And the second project was that it is time to replace all the old hoses. Now that we can get to them much easier.

The parts removal went fine. We covered up areas that did not require any paint and took the parts to the recycling business. After all, it is good steel and some copper. There we picked up a few bucks dedicated to a cold one. Every part removed that would be reused, was cleaned and set aside. The engine was much, much smaller now.

We began to clean the engine. First was to hand wash with a degreaser. After which we cleaned with Alcohol and Acetone. Then we applied a primer. The engine changed from mottled Blue, to Grey, and to shinny Blue again. This job was HUGE! Once we painted an area we couldn’t keep working in the engine room. We needed to wait for the primer to dry, then clean another area and paint another part. I wasn’t spraying the beast. I didn’t want overspray getting into the living quarters nor covering any other area of the engine compartment.

At this time we checked the weather to ensure good weather while we were replacing the deck drain hose. One set of hoses had exceeded its working life. It was the cockpit drain. I now have easier access to it. We replaced it at break neck speed. . The next couple of weeks called for cleaning and painting the engine. The majority before putting – re-installing any parts.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

We’ve Been Busy

We have been busy. I know the blog doesn’t show it. ( I am rectifying that situation.) Two huge projects have slipped by. I’ll post them in the front of the blog for a week or so then put them in the correct chronological order.

The first project was upgrading the cooling system on the trusty Perkins 4-236. Alex from

Perkins 4-236

Project Bluesphere and Steve on NorthStar had made the change; and they liked it. I knew we would be spending time in Australia, friends from the states were planning on visiting, and we have friends in Brissi.

I ordered the kit from TransAtlantic Diesel (TAD) and waited for its arrival. The kit with shipping and duty came to about 6k USD. Additionally when installing I broke the cooling pump and needed to replace it.  Here in Australia that too cost close to a boat buck ($1,000).

While waiting on the Bowman Heat Exchanger Kit to arrive we began preparation for the refrigeration change. In the end we were not “happy” with our holding plate system installed 20 years ago.

I identified some of the issues in an earlier post. To recap: The system was loud. The 1/2 hp motor turning the compressor would wake people up. It was right under our sea berth and made sleeping on passage next to impossible when running. We needed to manage the time so we both could get enough rest. It was water cooled and the pickup wasn’t in the best position in the boat. The water pickup was slightly aft of the beam. Much over 6 kts we often would end up air. The cooling would get an air lock and the system would stop. I then needed to purge the pump in the engine room while we were on a roller coaster ride across the deep blue. There must have been a hundred tubing connection through out the entire system. I was spending more time then I wished chasing down leaks. That and once found and eliminated we needed to add refrigerant. In places like the US, R134a is easy to find. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry auto store sells refrigerant. Here in QLD Australia, the only way to get refrigerant was to hire an AC shop to come check out the system and then top it up. At $250 bucks travel time plus an hourly that would get expensive, whew, glad that is over. Then, the boxes were so large W/ had difficulty using anything on the bottom. That space became a waste. The plates too took up a lot of room in the boxes making organization difficult. And finally, I never achieved the hold over I expected with the three plates. Thus the decision was to re-do the entire system. Remove the holding plates and add evaporator plates. Remove both compressors, the water cooling system and the plumbing. The search began for replacements. The destruction / construction would begin when we had the new system here in boxes. And the engine cooling system completed.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long