12 March 2009 | La Cruz
Our last 7 days have been filled with construction projects working with vendors and installing all the stuff that came down in our recent shipment from the states. The biggest of these was the stainless work, providing a support structure for the solar panels, a mount for 800 feet of nylon line on a spool and our stern anchor. Carlos and the rest of the stainless crew did a very nice job but required lots of attention to get the design details right. Then the rigger showed up (a week late) but did a great job helping ensure our rig was up to the task at hand. Next the electrician showed up to survey the rough-in of all the electrical cables for the solar, and then to top it off, "Teapot Tony" the Yanmar engine guru showed up ahead of schedule, and I was close to losing it, moving between 4 vendors at the same time feeding them what they needed to know for what seemed like an eternity. Four days later, the intensity has subsided and all of the big jobs are done. See the gallery for detailed pictures, but in short:
1. New stainless support structure for two 175W Kyocera solar panels, connected to the arch and the stern pulpits. Lots of fine tuning required getting them level and low enough where they don't conflict with the traveler. They also provided a base for the satphone antenna and stern light, removing a flimsy pole mounted to the starboard rail.
2. Two new halyards, one replacing the useless topping lift, which can be used as a spare main halyard, and a second halyard made of spectra, which is VERY strong facing forward, which will be used as a topping lift for the new whisker pole, but also can be used in an emergency as a replacement forestay or shroud. Along the way Jorge inspected and lubricated the in mast furler and main halyard, re-tensioned the forestay and fixed the jib furler so it furls more cleanly. We found two shackles at the top of the mast that were loose, normally buried inside the mainsail that could have easily come loose on the long passage. They both now have stainless wire holding them together for safety.
3. The trusty Yanmar turbo-diesel is now trustier after Teapot Tony installed a relay between the starter switch and the starter. Refer to our earlier blog entry about starter motor drama, but this will solve the intermittent starting problem. We also changed coolant and transmission fluid, adjusted valves, aligned the propshaft and blew out the carbon on the turbo exhaust blades. She's now purring nicely.
4. The new solar panels are delivering 15 amps at peak sunlight to the batteries, and over the course of the day, should deliver about 100 amp-hours, which will supply everything the fridge/freezer needs and about 60-70% of our daily needs, dramatically reducing the need to run the generator.
5. Installed the 6-man Viking offshore liferaft just in front of the companionway. Easy install, then Rina built a nice sunbrella cover for it.