19 September 2014 | Leverstock Green
Setback: Yanni’s broken a leg. This has in effect severely cut short our sailing season. Guapa’s on a mooring till the end of October. To cut a long story short: there need to be two of us to launch/recover the dinghy and to pick up the mooring buoy. Since other half and eldest daughter both work full time, Yanni (at college sort of part-time) was going to be the additional crew member most of the time. Not anymore. **** (insert swear word of choice)
Still, he should be back on his feet to help me tackle some winter projects.
1. When we bought Guapa we registered her in the UK (because it made sense at the time – for reasons I won’t go into). We bought a DSC VHF set for her. OFCOM issued us with an MMSI number and I duly entered this in the VHF set. A couple of years later we re-registered Guapa in Belgium. We notified local authorities that we already had an MMSI number. Much to my amazement, we were told that this was not transferable and we were issued a new MMSI number. To reprogram the MMSI number you have to send the set back to the manufacturer. Somehow, I have never gotten round to this. This winter, it’s on the list.
2. The engine is out of warranty, so from now on we’ll be servicing the engine ourselves. Replacement filters and anode already bought. Still need to buy oil, but other than that, we’re good to go. Scheduled to carry out the service the first WE we’re in a pontoon berth.
3. Top up the fuel tank. Want to take every possible precaution to avoid condensation and the dreaded diesel-bug.
4. Years ago I bought an extra control unit for the autopilot on eBay (half the kit on the boat seems to come off eBay) as a spare. Six years later and the spare is just sitting there, so I started thinking... two control units can be linked to the autopilot computer. Why not fit the spare down below by the chart table – where radar/plotter and GPS are? Costs should be minimal – a few meter of wire – so, that too is on the list.
5. This summer, I’ve been using a laptop running OpenCPN linked to our AIS transceiver to plot AIS contacts. And it’s worked fine. One drawback: the laptop (plugged into a 12V socket) seems to be very power hungry. In fact, on its own it wipes out all the power savings we made by going for all LED lighting. Yanni’s now going to build/program and alternative: a Banana Pi computer running OpenCPN on Linux linked to a 14’ touch screen tablet. The whole thing should not draw more than 1ah. All parts on order - total cost of hardware: GBP 135. If he really manages to pull this off, I see commercial possibilities for the little man as the closest thing available on the market costs well over GBP 700.
None of the items on the list above will break the bank, so the chances of completing them before Easter next year are very good. As we already had to replace one car sooner than we had intended too, there isn’t really much left in the kitty for ‘big’ winter projects.
Two items are currently under consideration: replace the fridge or replace the Eberspracher heater. I will be going to Southampton Boat Show tomorrow to investigate which project – if any – we can afford.
The fridge quite old but still works; but is also power hungry. The ideal replacement would be a modern, more efficient keel-cooled one. However, this will require an additional hole in the hull (a job we won’t be taking on ourselves). And a lift-out and all the costs associated with it. This might turn out to be an expensive job very quickly.
The Eberspracher died last year. It’s beyond economic repair and even if we could find someone to take on the job, spares are hard/impossible to find. So I am considering alternatives: either another Eberspracher or a Webasto. I’ve taken pictures of our entire current setup to show to the various reps at the show – I want to keep as much of the current ducts/controllers/etc... as possible to keep down the costs. Yanni thinks this project should not be beyond him. If we do not need outside labour, that would also help to keep the cost down.
If affordable, this would be my winter project of choice as a functioning heater on board will make it easier for me to convince the other half to spend more time aboard in winter.
Decisions, decisions,... Or to put it another way: is everything expensive, or am I just poor?