Another Work Day
14 May 2018 | Pension Tiare Nui
Tired Bill, again
We were awakened this morning by a call from Conni's dad, LaVerne. He wanted to warn us about the dangers of creating a spark when we were cleaning the starboard diesel tank. 30 seconds of Internet search confirmed that the diesel fumes were highly explosive and could be ignited by a spark. Neither of us dismisses anything he says, anyway, but that kind of call was enough for us to change our planned method of cleaning the tank bottom. We soon visited the Carenage store and bought a rubber scraper to loosen sludge from the tank bottom. Thanks, LaVerne.
Yesterday was productive with the exception of our attempts to get the propane delivery system installed. As chief mechanic and maintenance guy, I dropped the ball years ago by not getting the entire propane delivery system, tanks to stove, replaced. Shoot, it's 34 years old! A leaking propane system is a danger to everyone aboard.
Last year, Conni and I removed the entire system of regulator, solenoid, fittings, and hose so that we could have a duplicate made. There's always a catch, and the catch was that the parts were not the same size and space is a premium: the type of regulator was no longer made, and the solenoid was different. All I could do is buy what I could find and hope for the best. I couldn't even perform a "dry fit" until we arrived in Oakland since several parts that I couldn't find in Anchorage were sent there. Unfortunately, yesterday I forgot to bring my photos of the original system and we just couldn't recreate the sequence of parts with what we had.
On looking at the system last night on our return to the bungalow, we saw instantly what we needed to rearrange and things looked promising. This morning, we were able to arrange the parts to work, but we'll need some hoses re-fabricated for a better fit. Still, I think that we'll have a functioning system. One of the elbows is not hard-tight, but it's tight and we have good sealant on it. We'll check for leaks with a match tomorrow. Just kidding! We'll use soapy water to find bubbles.
A word about Conni's help in this project. Getting the sequence of parts right was a daunting task. I approach it differently: I stare at the parts and rotate them mentally to find the arrangement. Conni grabs the parts and starts playing with them like tinker toys, and she've VERY good at it. I got the parts and all, but her sense of spatial relationships is exceptional. It's something else that she does well.
The GPS antennae, one for the AIS (Automatic Identification System) and one for the chart plotter, look like mushrooms, so that's what we call them. I got the two installed yesterday, along with the LifeSling, a rescue float with rope attached to the boat. Each task that we complete moves us forward.
We've received no word from sources for another MPPT, the solar charge controller. I think that I can make something work, but I'd love to have heard from some of the sources.
Conni has most of the stainless tubing cleaned and the bimini erected. She has had to become a master at working on the zippers since the plastic swells and she is forced to file the zipper teeth for them to mesh.
I contacted the Carenage a month ago to order some specific varnish for us since we knew that the teak cap rails needed the work. The Carenage has sold this varnish in the past, so I thought that ordering ahead of time would solve the inevitable supply problem. Not so fast! For reasons that elude me, I got no response from several emails and the varnish did not get ordered, forcing us to buy some expensive stuff that they recommended. We'll see. the price is not as important as the quality, of course. The yard hands applying it have done a good job of sanding and applied two coats of primer today. They'll wait until tomorrow for a top coat, then the next day for another, but it already looks better.
The Carenage itself seems to be running a bit better than before. The yard is cleaner and the workers on our boat took pains to clean after themselves, not a practice we've seen before but much appreciated. There are many fewer derelict boats in the yard, and they're the bane of all yard owners. The boat owner croaks or can't fetch the boat: happens all the time. The yard owner has no ownership papers on the boat, and can't dispose of it, but it brings in no money and uses space. I'm sure that there's a legal proceeding to follow, but it's probably not cheap.
I cranked up the Single Side Band (SSB...a marine Ham radio) and got it working. That' s a relief. It's our source of weather information and communication when we're out on the blue, so getting it working is essential. It's not like using a sat phone in that one must consider solar interference and the fact that different frequencies are better at traveling specific distances. Each station has 4-6 frequencies, too. I have to relearn each year.
I disassembled and cleaned the windlass, and got it reassembled. That important but very dirty task is done.
We decided not to replace the refrigerator this year, so I removed the insulation on the top door and Conni installed new insulation. I'm sure that it'll make a difference. Since we've planned an engine replacement for next year, it made sense to do that work while the engine work was proceeding. That's the theory, anyway.
My tools have taken a beating here. I work continuously while I'm here by keeping them dry and by applying a thin coat of Corrosion Block, my go-to lubricant and anticorrosion material. Even with that care, my screwdrivers, all 30+ of them, were almost beyond recognition on our return. A painstaking scraping, a dip in Ospho, a drying, then an application of Corrosion Block seemed to rejuvenate most, but the cheaper ones are badly pitted. I may be forced to store them in a Ziplock, sprayed with Corrosion Block to reduce the hour I spent this year in working on them.
I wanted to mention the superb work that our boat keeper, Ludivine, has done. Each week since we departed 10 months ago, she's opened the boat and scrubbed everything. The boat has never been in better shape and we have her to thank. As Conni mentioned several times to me, Ludivine's work has saved her several days of scrubbing, an unpleasant task in better conditions. She keeps the batteries topped off and pumps the bilge when needed. She knows no English, but she knows about Google Translate and that's how she communicates with us. At least once a month, she sends photos of the boat's interior to show us how she looks. We both sincerely hope that she'll accept another year's work. Thank you, Ludivine.