Goings On 29-31 August
31 August 2020 | Mooring Field, Bora Bora Yacht Club
The Crosby, Stills and Nash song, Southern Cross, was our theme song when we made our big crossing from Mexico to the Marquesas way back in 2013: "and the downhill run to Papeete...". It made us very cognizant of the lovely constellation that can't be seen from Alaska. On our return to the boat from the Yacht Club each visit, Wings is lying under the Southern Cross: directly South of us. It's such a strong image for us that always elicits a comment.
I've been working on re-setting our port-side, midship chock. I've got the area under the chock coated in epoxy resin. I've drilled oversized holes in the previous locations of the wood screws that held the chock in place, and backfilled the holes with epoxy resin. This completely eliminates the chance that water will percolate down the screw body and weaken the wood: standard procedure. Some of the old teak had taken quite the beating from water intrusion, so we drilled a series of small holes in the wood and injected very low-viscosity epoxy resin appropriately named, "Git Rot". The resin and hardener fill cavities in the wood and provide enormous strength. We use the product regularly since the boat has a lot of wood. I've got a question out to Conni's dad on the proper size hole to drill in that rock-hard cured epoxy, to insert the silicon bronze wood screws, and when I hear from him, I'll drill those, and mount the chock. After I caulk around it, it'll be done, we both hope.
Saturday night, we had 5 neighboring boats in the mooring field, and Sunday evening, we had 17! Several were Moorings or SunSail chartered boats, but they're all sailors out here away from the home base, which is impressive. The remainder were privately-owned boats, and even a lot of monohulls, although multihulls predominate. There's an American family of parents and two daughters who've had a big time after arrival. They motored past us as then headed for dinner at the Yacht Club and we could hear them laughing and teasing. The youngest daughter was operating the outboard, and the dinghy's erratic path revealed that it was probably her first opportunity to steer. They were all in hysterics. It's always nice to hear people having a good time. The same was true of a French group aboard a SunSail catamaran. The three couples were in the stern tonight, drinking wine and having a boisterous time at dinner. Again, it's always fun to listen to people having a good time. It's infectious.
I worked on the final piece of the electronics wiring. The old Raymarine autopilot control head stopped working about a mile outside the Bora Bora entrance, and I traced the problem to a faulty connector. I got that replaced yesterday and found an unused watertight 6-gang connector. It's ugly and twice the size we need, but it was on-hand and I pressed it into service. I finished some cosmetic work today. To seal some wire ends, I used some RTV automotive sealant/adhesive that's suppose to be great stuff. I do hope that it is. I've never used it before, but I had to strip an outer covering from two covered wires and one uncovered shield wire, and the gap around the three wires and the outer covering caused some concern. I was able to seal around that hole and fill the void with RTV. These older networks like the Raymarine SeaTalk 1 are a far cry from the sophisticated system available for NMEA2000.
Our old reliable Link10 battery monitor has an interesting behavior when it senses that the batteries are fully charged. The device uses a series of four green/yellow/red LEDs to denote approximate state of charge and when all charge parameters have been met, the fourth green LED flashes slowly. We call it "the Green Flash", in reference to the very rare solar phenomenon of the same name. The device slowly loses synchronization with actual battery state of charge over long periods since it monitors energy in and out. It had been telling us that we were down 115 Ahr or so each morning, and we felt that it was in error. Today, we were down 115 Amp-hour but solar was going well and we saw the much-desired Green Flash! The Link automatically reset and "zeroed out" the growing Amp-hour deficit, so we feel that we're getting a more reliable reading of our house bank's state of charge. We live by that house bank, so it's critical to know how they're doing. The fridge, of course, is the energy culprit, but we use bagged ice to relieve some of the load and carry the fridge through the night. I awaken at midnight to check things and always shut off the fridge, and awaken at 6 for another quick check, and power the fridge again. It reduces consumption by 50% and makes a huge difference. Last night, for example, I slept through my midnight walkabout and didn't awaken until 0200 or so, shut off the fridge and went to sleep. The fridge was back on at 0600, but we're still only 65 Amp-hours down, not 115. On big solar gain days, we don't have to run the Honda at all if we follow the process. [The "Amp-hour" unit assumes a 12V battery, so the product of those units (Amp X hour X Volts) is simple energy, in Joules.]
I love teak decks but our are getting very old and the sun and wind here are not helping their longevity. I replaced 8 of the teak plugs (called bungs) that cover the screws that attach the teak to the underlying fiberglass deck below. When the teak wears thin, the plug comes loose and water can work its way into the underlying deck.
A correspondent has informed me of mistakes that I made in my statements on single sideband. The radio mode was actually patented back in 1915, it seems, but was in use for the US Strategic Air Command's bombers. Additionally, the US FCC does not mandate only 150W for marine SSB. Tip of the hat for that.