Voyages

These are the voyages of the sailing vessel, Wings.

25 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
23 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
20 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
19 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
17 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
04 July 2021 | Anchorage, Alaska
25 September 2020 | Home
20 September 2020 | Pension Tiare Nui
17 September 2020 | Pension Tiare Nui
14 September 2020 | Pension Tiare Nui
11 September 2020 | Raiatea Carenage yard
10 September 2020 | Raiatea Carenage slip
10 September 2020 | Haamene Bay, Taha'a
06 September 2020 | Vaiaeho Bay, Raiatea
04 September 2020 | Tapuamu Bay, West Side of Taha'a
31 August 2020 | Mooring Field, Bora Bora Yacht Club
28 August 2020 | Mooring Field, Bora Bora Yacht Club
25 August 2020 | Bora Bora Yacht Club mooring field
24 August 2020 | Tapuamu Bay, West Side of Taha'a
23 August 2020 | Tapuamu Bay, Taha'a

StrongTrack

25 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Lovely today
We've worked every day since we arrived last week: 10 days running. We've done a lot of work and might even splash the boat a few days early, although we'll await a decision until later. We're both pleased with our progress, but it's wearing on us, too.

Today's work is a great example. There are some sailing terms to explain but I'll do as little of that as I can.

The main sail is suspended vertically from the aft side of the mast, with the side of the sail facing the mast connected to the mast via metal parts that allow the sail to slide up and down with little friction. We have a very old mast so the sliding parts on newer sails don't fit into the groove in our mast. To adapt our old mast to our newer sails, we bought and installed a "StrongTrack", an HDPE plastic track that fits our mast track as well as the new sail sliders. We did this before departing our home port of Seward, Alaska. After 11 years of use, most in the intense sun/UV of Mexico and the South Pacific, the track was simply too damaged to keep: the bottom 6 inches actually broke off last season!

We ordered a new track and it duly arrived in Alaska in a spiral of plastic track inside a 42" octagonal box. After its arrival, I reinforced the box (photos on the site) and we brought it with us, its dimensions requiring that we fly with United rather than our preferred Air Tahiti or Air France. Nevertheless, it survived the trip and has been taking up floor space in our tiny kitchenette since our arrival.

To install the new track, the old one had to be removed and unfortunately, that required that we remove a bolted-on fitting that connected the boom (the horizontal member that holds the bottom of the main sail) from the mast. The fitting we had to remove has the interesting and historic name of a "gooseneck". There are 8 bolts that hold the gooseneck fitting to the mast, and after 11 years of salt water, vibration, and heat, those bolts were NOT easy to remove! Using an impact driver and hammer, with Conni's help, I removed the machine screws. That was our first 2 hours of work. As installation-master, Conni took it from there.

Conni removed the old track fairly quickly, dragging it out of the mast while keeping it aligned with the mast. We drove back to the bungalow and grabbed the box containing the new track and hauled it to the boat. Under Conni's direction, I helped her insert and raise the new track into the mast, then she completed the operation by tightening the special fasteners that hold the track to the mast. She used white electrical tape to coat the side of the gooseneck fitting to prevent electrical corrosion with the mast. I had found the appropriate replacement machine screws, "chased the threads" (using a tap to clean the old threads in the mast), and inserted in those mast holes a material that prevented electric corrosion between the stainless steel machine screws and the aluminum mast. We re-mounted the gooseneck fitting to the mast. Finally, she found the correct replacement for a special pin that allows the gooseneck to swivel in the fitting, mounted that, and we were done! It was masterfully accomplished, and no doubt she learned a lot when she removed the old track, but she's so good with mechanical systems. When she decides to take on some mechanical system repair, I go about my other business, knowing that her work will be done correctly. We both joke about the "Livsey micrometer eyeball", since she's so good at determining sizes of mechanical parts.

It was SO hot today and not a breath of wind, so we both completed a few other smaller tasks, and called it a day.

What we've been doing

23 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Beautiful!
We've been busy. Let's see, the last blog was three days ago, so much has transpired. Sometimes I'm just too bushed to write, sometimes I don't want to bore people with details, and sometimes most of what we're doing we've described before.

The weather on Wed and Thursday was very rainy, more than usual for this time of year. We think that the storm was a Maramou, a windy Pacific storm, since it lasted for several days with heavy rain and wind the entire time. It cleared Thursday afternoon and today has been beautiful, our first French Polynesian day!

Let's see: solar panels are up and producing energy; most of the cockpit stainless is buffed to a lustre; below decks is spotless from Conni;s work; primary fuel filter changed; anchor chain back on deck and attached to the anchor (a good thing for both); our new BlueTooth/radio player is installed and working; lots of new gear is stowed and the room is emptying; the venerable and beloved fridge is running, against all odds; bimini and dodger are up, providing a lot of dry cockpit space; and many other tasks by both of us. We feel that we've been very productive and are, perhaps, a bit ahead of schedule.

Yesterday, it was on my list to re-install the raw water impeller in the raw water pump. That pump brings in sea water (raw water) from outside to cool the engine. The impeller is the rotating device that actually pumps the water. I carefully remove it each season to prevent deformation, and I store it in the same place that I have used for the last many years. It wasn't there when I looked for it. This is not a small problem since with no cooling water, there's no engine so no trip. Amazon couldn't help since no vendor shipped to French Polynesia. I notified several friends that I might need help and everyone agreed. We've had a lot of people in and out of the boat in our absence, so someone might have inadvertently moved it, or we could have, but we couldn't locate it. No one steals a used impeller, so wherever happened, it was accidental.

Having it stolen was not my fault, but not having a spare WAS my fault. I should have had at least one spare, but didn't. This could have been a show-stopper of a problem and I spent a sleepless night worrying about it. First thing Friday, I sprinted to the Carenage office and lo and behold, the impeller we needed was there! I bought one, measured it carefully, then tried it in the pump. Voila! We dodged a bullet. I've been euphoric all day, being let off the hook for being responsible for dealing or even canceling our entire trip.

On Thursday, I decided to work on our new wind sensor system, a B&G WS320. It's wireless so it sends the wind speed and direction data from the masthead to a small "puck" (because of its shape) at deck level via BlueTooth: no cables down the mast. As with all BlueTooth devices, the puck and sensor need to be paired and the pairing process is quite simple. Nevertheless, after carefully following the brief but specific directions, the two would NOT pair. Damn! We took the time to drive back to the bungalow so that I could send a detailed email to B&G and asking for help in diagnosing the problem, but we knew that it's being Thursday we'd not hear until sometime next week. I'll still climb to the masthead to install the base for mounting the sensor, but we might not have wind data AGAIN! Jeez, we seem to be cursed never to have wind data!

Today, as Conni was working on the cockpit stainless steel, I lubricated the propeller. Does that sound odd? It's not, since the propeller is able to "feather" or have the blades rotate so that they are parallel to the water flow, vastly reducing drag when we're sailing. When we motor, the blades rotate back to their normal position for providing thrust. All of that rotation requires lubrication and that's what I was doing. Done!

So, we're plugging along, completing tasks and working through problems. Many of the main tasks are complete, and we might even splash on Friday, but let's not get ahead of ourself.

Wish us luck.

Anniversary Progress

20 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Unsettled and rainy
Blog 20 July 2021

16 43.41'S:151 27.54'W

Anniversary Progress

We awakened to more rain this morning, but persevered, arriving at the boat at 0900. It continued to rain intermittently all day.

In our first dry spell, we were able to haul the two solar panels from below and get them mounted. It clears a lot space and frees our starboard settee for sitting. Accidentally, I mashed Conni's finger, so she bled all over the stern. What did I give to my wife of 30 years? A wounded finger. Hmmm...

I fooled around with the bilge pump wiring and with Conni's help, we fussed with that damned pump for a few hours, finally getting it into the bilge. A few more hours were spent getting it sitting to sit upright, but with me stretched on the cabin sole and reaching full length into the bilge, I was able to maneuver it as we need it. Voilé! We have a bilge pump! And it's not just a bilge pump, but a high capacity one with an excellent float switch. Both automatic and manual circuits work as they should, so we've accomplished the task. Our boat watch lady, Ludivine, will be very happy, I know.

I buttoned a few other electrical projects as well. We have several charging sources aboard, and three battery banks. How to distribute the charging so that all batteries receive their charge? We've chosen the very best device around, manufactured by a family company named, "Yandina". The devices are combiners and they perform as their name suggests, combining batteries to receive charge. They're 100% waterproof, beautifully designed, and reasonably priced. It seems that everyone in the family is an electrical engineer, so when one contacts the tech support, one receives advice and help from someone who helped design the product and can be trusted to provide accurate information. For this discussion, it doesn't matter how they work (did I hear a collective sigh of relief?), but they're outstanding gear. At any rate, I had to remove an old set of devices, then wire and install the Yandina C-600 pair. To combine the two electrically, I needed an AWG8 wire and the proper terminals. The wire, no problem. I had the terminal but with a hole that was too small. Oh, NO! The only solution was to grab some vice-grip pliers and a drill, and using increasingly large drill bits to enlarge the hole. It's not as easy as it might sound. The process finally did produce the hole that I needed, so another task was complete.

Conni, even with my constant interruptions asking for help, managed to complete re-roving all of the halyards, as well as installing the bimini and dodger cover. We've got complete cover in the cockpit, now, thanks to her effort.

The most important task remained: an anniversary dinner. We broke at 1600 and found that our request to dine at the same restaurant that hosted my birthday last year would again host us tonight. We're thrilled! Villa Ixora (https://www.villa-ixora.com/copie-de-bienvenue) is highly rated and we had an outstanding meal last year, so we're looking forward to another fine evening.

Sometime this week, I've got to ascend to the masthead and install our new wind instruments, but I'll await more settled weather.

Rain and more rain, then work

19 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Rrrrrrrain!
Sunday: We started the day with high hopes, but the rain was torrential and continuous, so we just holed up in the bungalow. I don't know if the locals think that it's a lot of rain, but we did. Driving and working would have been difficult.

Sunday morning we had packed for work and were ready to go, but decided to stay in the bungalow until the rain subsided. At 1430, the rain finally lessened enough to get to the boat, so we took the 8-minute drive over still-overflowing streets. As a small point, there is only one road on the island, for practical purposes. It's the "belt road" that circumnavigates the island right along the coast.

Sunday was more a surveillance day than a work day, but as we searched the boat we noted again how dry the boat was inside. That's due to our continued efforts to re-caulk the "chainplates": the holes in our deck through which the shrouds penetrate to connect to the hull. Shrouds are the cables from side to side and fore to aft that keep the mast standing straight. Ours is an old boat and the method for penetrating the deck for the shrouds is extremely primitive: someone with a saw simply sawed a hole through! The shrouds are difficult to seal and not doing so has resulted in a lot of water damage. We're far from done, but it's much better. We worked until 1700 and went grocery shopping.

Monday: We were at the boat by 0900, and worked until 1700, our usual day. This wet, windy weather system is still upon us so work on deck was intermittent.

My main task today was to replace the bilge pump. Here's the problem. There is a water sensor in the bilge that, by various means, senses the presence of water. The tried-and-true method is a simple float. When the float rises to some predetermined level, a switch is tripped and the pump works. Water is pumped up a long hose to a "through-hull", an opening in the side of the boat, where it's discharged. As soon as the pump switch senses that the water is gone, the pump stops, and that allows the water in the damned hose to re-enter the bilge where it causes the switch to sense water, tripping the pump on and it repeats. This cycling can destroy a pump in short order, and has done so on many occasions. One solution is to place a "check valve" in the hose which prevents that water from leaving the hose and causing the pump to cycle. In Alaska, the water in the hose can freeze and cause a world of other issues, many of which end with the boat on the bottom. Oops.

The last bilge pump that I installed was in 2017, and it worked for several years. When we replaced the engine in 2019, and the bilge region was easily accessible, after a discussion with Conni, we re-installed the same pump, but that failed in 2020. The staff at the Carnage, where we store the boat, replaced that pump with another, but it was small and failed later that year. That pump subsequently failed and, with the new engine making bilge access extremely difficult, the pump was replaced with a non-submergible pump of limited capacity and requiring manual operation.

I purchased a high capacity pump: a Johnson L2200 or 2200 gallons per hour or 37 gallons per minute or 2.5 quarts per second. i also purchased an expensive but "bombproof" bilge switch. Both were expensive but we hope that they were our last contributions to the bilge pump industry. Interesting, the Johnson pump came with a check valve in desired. We do!

With two pumps having been installed by other people, it's an understatement to say that the wiring was just spaghetti. After staring at things for a few hours, and looking at my original wiring diagrams, I finally determined which wires were which and got things prepared to install. I also had one failed multimeter and another intermittent one. I guess that it's par for the course. Other task needing my attention pushed the pump install until tomorrow.

To access the bilge, one of the engine exhaust hoses needed to be removed, and I was not strong enough to do it. I hate to admit that, but it's true. I had to hire it done, damn it, but the biggest guy at the Carenage struggled with the job for a bit, so it made me feel better. If Taputu Tetuaetara sweated and grunted, it was difficult. With a modicum of luck, I can fit the pump and switch through the newly available opening and install our new pump.

As usual, Conni smoked me in getting work accomplished. She re-rove the final few halyards today, so that's done, as well as cleaning most of the boat's insides. Her careful job of labeling and stringing the "messenger lines" worked as they should have this year. The lines (ropes to you!) are damaged by sun and exposure, and very expensive to replace, so we remove them at season's end. When she pulls out a line, she pulls in a smaller line that stays in place and acts as a messenger for the reinstall. Those messengers are in the elements for the time we're away from the boat and must be in good shape and in place for an easy reinstallation. Conni's a master at that task.

Bilge pump and solar panels tomorrow, if we're lucky. Oh, yeah...it's our 30th anniversary tomorrow, so we're putting on what little we have that's nice and going to dinner!

We Return.

17 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Soggy and blowing rain
We slept for 12 hours! On Wednesday morning, we awakened at 0700, packed the remaining items, and prepared for our upcoming journey. Later on Wednesday our dear friends, Peter and Toby, fetched us to their home for dinner and a ride to the airport. It's something of a tradition since they've been providing rides back and forth between the airport and our home for many years. We departed Anchorage very early on Thursday morning, and arrived in San Francisco on Thursday 0800 via Portland. We waited a few hours until 1320 hours in SFO, then boarded the long flight to Papeete, French Polynesia, arriving on Thursday, 1915 local time. No rest on those flights! We waited in the Papeete airport until 0800 Friday, exhausted from no sleep, and then flew to Raiatea, our "home island". We visited the boat and met some new friends who just purchased a local boat. We were back in our bungalow at 1900 and I was immediately asleep. I admit that the long hours of flight are much harder on me than once they were. Wednesday morning until Friday night with no sleep is much tougher than it once was.

The boat looks great! Conni had done a remarkably good job of stopping leaks that come down the mast, and we've both worked on the various other leak sources, so the boat smelled much better and was much drier than the past few years. During their summer (typhoon season), it rains much of each day, so any leaks at all result in a very wet boat.

Today, Saturday, we spent the most of the day buying and stowing groceries in the bungalow and worked one the boat for several hours, mostly simply surveying the boat and deciding what tasks we should attack first. My work today was interrupted by the failure of both of my digital multimeters: the devices with which I make various measurements on electrical systems. I think that one might be salvageable but the other is inoperative and likely to remain so.

Tomorrow, Sunday, will be our first full day of work on the boat and it will be an interesting day.

Conni wanted me to mention the great effort that French Polynesia has exerted toward keeping the population safe but allowing the much-needed tourist dollars to arrive. We've been vaccinated for a long time, so many required steps were already accomplished. We started by signing up with the FP government and requesting entrance. Conni had been monitoring the government site for months, and they have an effective notification system, so we knew the process for entry had begun. After completing the on-line forms, we emailed images of our CoVid vaccination cards to the government and in a few days had our approval for entrance. We also had a requirement of a PCR-based CoVid test no older than 72 hours prior to our departure from the US. That entailed some scrambling in Anchorage, but we did accomplish it. That test result was sent to United Airlines and we imagine that they interface with the government. When we arrived in San Francisco airport for our departure to FP, our tickets were stamped with a large red, "DOCS OK."

On arrival in the Papeete airport, we took ANOTHER rapid test for Covid and results were ready in 30 minutes, and no passengers were allowed to leave prior to their results being approved. In addition, at the airport in Papeete, we receive another test prior to our departure from the airport to return to the US. Whew! Everyone and every country is trying very hard to keep infected travelers from entering their countries. We applaud the effort.

We Return to the South Pacific

04 July 2021 | Anchorage, Alaska
William Ennis | Lovely and cool
Blog 4 July 2021

I'm sitting here at my desk at home, gazing at the Alaska that is our home. In our typical schizophrenic way, we're now going to leave the mountains and head for the heat and beauty of the South Pacific. We depart for Wings and the South Pacific in 11 days: 15 July. Yikes!

We've made all of the arrangements with French Polynesian health authorities that can be made and we'll abide by all of the rules that they demand: it's their country. We've both long-since been vaccinated for CoVid, and will have a test to take prior to our arrival in the country, but we'll be fine.

We have a wind sensor to install on the damned masthead, so I've got a few quality hours up high. Thankfully, it's wireless and I've only to install the base plate, already fabricated here at home, and screw it into the masthead. Although it should be easy, I know that it won't.

We're replacing some older and heat-killed electronics, of course, and I've built housings for a new BlueTooth music player. We have several small pieces of electronics that will also be replaced.

Another major task it to replace the "Strong Track" mast system that we use to allow our main to travel up the mast on an older track. The Strong Track is in a large cardboard box that's large enough to force us to fly via United to FP. I'm not a fan of the small seats on United flights, but this track box simply dictated the choice.

I've also got a new AC charger to install, as well as a lot of other spare parts to load. Conni has interior boat tasks galore. During commissioning, we'll be at the Pension Tiare Nui again, thankfully. We'll have Wifi there so communication is possible.

Our nephew, Ian, is visiting us this year, the first of the next generation who's made that journey. I'm excited for him to see the South Pacific for the first time: can you imagine?

Wish us luck.
Vessel Name: Wings
Vessel Make/Model: Passport 40
Hailing Port: Anchorage, Alaska
Crew: William Ennis and Constance Livsey
About: We've been married since 1991, and both retired from our respective jobs (teacher and attorney) after long careers. We live in the most exotic of the United States: Alaska. We cruise on Wings for half the year, enjoying our home state the other part of the year.
Extra:
We've sailed Wings Southward from Alaska since August, 2010. We joined the BajaHaha from SoCal to Mexico in 2012. We joined the Pacific Puddle Jump in 2013 and crossed the Pacific Ocean. Wings "over-summered" in French Polynesia. We continued our journey through western French Polynesia, [...]
Home Page: http://svwings.com
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