Avalon, Catalina Island
22 October 2008
Having arrived at Two Harbors, Catalina Island, we took a mooring in the harbor. The water is so clear, you can easily see the bottom.
The day was dedicated to getting to the bottom of projects/problems, and there have been many. In addition to the autopilot that has given up the ghost, the new Raymarine E80 display I installed has taken up the disconcerting habit of going black, at random intervals, for about a second. This was the only used piece of equipment I bought for the boat; that turned out to be a bad decision. Now I have to get a new one rather than take a chance of losing all our radar/chartplotter capability while in Mexico.
I did some tests on the autopilot, connecting the motor drive to 12v DC to see if it moves. It does, which proves the motor is good but the "course computer" electronics are burned out. In talking with Raymarine, it turns out the autopilot we have is undersized for the weight of the boat (26,000 lbs / 12,000 kg). So to just replace the electronics is out of the question. I have to upgrade the entire autopilot to something that is rated to handle this size of a boat.
This is very expensive, of course. I try not to think about the dollars involved.
I ordered new autopilot components and a new E80 charplotter/radar display from a dealer in San Diego. These will be ready for us when we arrive.
There were other obstacles to overcome today. The outboard motor wouldn't start. It turns out the cylinders and carburetor were filled with engine oil because I had laid it horizontally on the wrong side (not knowing there WAS a wrong side, silly me). A nice mechanic came out to the boat and fixed everything up for a mere $30 labor charge. That was the best $30 I ever spent.
Then it came time to make dinner. However the propane wouldn't turn on. We have a Xintex propane sniffer, and to make a long story short, the poor machine is confused. It thinks there's a second sensor connected where one isn't. I was able to modify the way the thing is wired so we could get dinner cooked.
One would think this was enough trouble for one day. But John took a shower in the aft head, and lo and behold, the sump pump for the aft shower no longer pumps water. So I have to either figure out why that pump isn't working or replace the damn thing with a new pump. I think I'll get a new self priming bilge pump in
San Diego, to carry along, even if I can get this pump working again.
I wonder, how boat owners who aren't technically inclined, manage to get through these technical challenges. I think the answer is, you have to be able to fix this stuff yourself in order to be a cruiser. Otherwise you would be helpless.