Sea Trial and We're Done!
02 August 2019 | Marina Taina
William Ennis | Hot, muggy, rainy
We're done and the engine has performed flawlessly during its sea trial. It's been a long haul, with many difficulties, but the chore is complete. Both of us are very happy with the engine and the installation. During the sea trial, we found that the engine runs very smoothly and surprisingly quietly. The alignment, that damned alignment, is so good that it's difficult to determine if the propeller shaft is turning at all. When we increase the prop's pitch, we should run substantially faster than before. In forward, we could easily keep the engine on 2300 RPM and over 5 knots of boat speed, even with the pitch at the lower value.
By 0945, we had returned to the marina, tied up at the dock, and had the shore power connected. There were smiles all around and great relief that the engine was properly installed and had performed perfectly.
Remaining tasks, as mentioned, are the sound insulation, re-erecting the furniture removed prior to installation, and installing the blower. The blower is a small "squirrel cage" fan that blows engine compartment air, via a 3" diameter plastic pipe system, to a dorade vent on the stern. While evacuating air, it also brings in fresh air from the surrounding room so cools the engine, too: fumes out, fresh air in. With the old diesel, the fume removal was critical, but with this new engine, probably less so. Still, it was a task that we identified as important and after several hours, I had it completed. During the old diesel removal process, equipment removal was chaotic: just unscrewed from bases, wires cut, and item discarded. Finding the old wires without my trusty toner would have been difficult. Rather than a bus trip into town to buy new flex hose, I scavenged a 4-foot section of flex hose from the now unused diesel heater. With a little mashing, it more closely resembled circular hose and worked satisfactorily.
Meanwhile, Conni's Germanic heritage was on display as she cleaned the floor while on her hands and knees. Adrian and Gabriel are always barefoot and their dirty, sometimes greasy, feet ground dirt and grease into the teak floor. She's been cleaning the floors every evening after the crew is gone and she probably has a few more sessions in her future.
We're not even going to attempt to install the new sound insulation, preferring to reclaim at least a week of our sailing season by leaving on Monday. We've got to return to Marina Taina next year so that Adrian can perform a 50-hour inspection, so he can install the insulation at that time. We still didn't get to visit around the island so perhaps we can accomplish that next year, too.
On our return to the marina, Adrian and Conni settled our bill and completed the warranty paperwork. Since Adrian is a factory-authorized installer, we could get the entire process completed in a few minutes. We're officially installed now!
We knew that a neighboring catamaran had departed in early afternoon, but thought no more about it. As Conni and I were about to depart for our nightly cold shower, the man whom we though was the boat owner dropped by to check that the dock lines from the departed boat were stowed. Jeez, we thought that he owned the boat! Jacques, as we learned his name, was only care taking. Conni invited him aboard for some wine. Jacques speaks superb English, but drinks no alcohol, eats no meat, gluten, sugar, nor salt, so he received a glass of tap water. We looked at this Frenchman quizzically since a Frenchman who drinks no wine is a rarity in our experience. He responded to our looks with a story: he was in a Parisian restaurant for a meal but told the server of his dietary restrictions. When Jacques asked the server what the server could recommend, the server recommended, "a taxi!".
We had a wonderful 2-hour conversation about world problems and Jacques' life of travel. Jacques is a very idealistic liberal, and with much we agreed, some we did not. He has lived a life of excitement, having spent 30 years as crew for long distance sailing races such as the Whitbread Around the World and such. He regaled us with stories of those races, of losing crew members in heavy seas. It was a fun and lively conversation. Of course, our showers were delayed until 2130 and dinner until 2230, but with the engine work at an end, we knew that we could sleep in.
What now? We're going to relax a bit, then start our preparation for our departure from Tahiti. Our current plan is to travel to Moorea on Monday, spend the night or two, then sail to Huahine for several days. That requires that we prepare the boat and us for the next week's travel: clothes washed, groceries bought and stowed, water and supplies gathered. After that, of course, it's return to the Raiatea Carenage and our decommissioning.
We toasted the boat and the new engine last night. Looking back, it was a huge and complex task undertaken in a foreign country while living in the construction zone. Conni deserves the greater share of credit for simply keeping our lives going during this past 5 weeks. She kept the boat as clean as she could (on hands and knees every evening), she cooked meals and ALWAYS had our cocktail hour for us, regardless of how tired she was. That time to relax, nibble some baguette and cheese, some olives, sip a cocktail or wine, allowed us to maintain sanity. It can be said of neither of us that we always had a smile, but we seem to do well under stress, banding together to accomplish a task. Now that the installation is done, we're back to our (as she calls it) "Bill and Conni time", in which we accomplish tasks but in a more cruiser-like manner.
Weather seems to favor our going to Moorea on Monday, and then to Huahine on Tuesday or so. Predictions are for 10-12 knot winds from the east or east north east, and moderate seas. Shoot, we can motor there if we must!