Chores Diminishing, 3-5 August
05 August 2023 | Raiatea Carenage
William Ennis | Hot and humid
We've been working for almost three weeks, 7 days a week. We have tried to keep the days reasonably short and take breaks when needed, but we're both ready to get the boat into the water and see something other than a boat yard. It's hot, windy, and dirty here.
Remaining chores are getting fewer as we work through the list. One of the most important remaining tasks is to get Conni to the mast head to re-install the various wind instruments: the solar powered one that's part of our new navigation instruments, and the simple Windex, a horizontally-balanced arrow that rotates and points to the wind direction. Belt and suspenders...
Thursday, 3 August, I disassembled, cleaned, greased, and re-assembled the windlass, the device that raises the 65-lb anchor and associated chain. It's not a difficult task since the device has many fewer parts than a 2-speed winch, but the parts are much beefier and and more crucial to clean and lubricate: they handle quite a load. I made a sun shield that worked well enough to provide some protection during the process.
Conni has been a working machine, going at it from after breakfast to dinner time, and then preparing the meals to boot. The fridge has changed her life, though, since she has access to cold beverages (water, beer, and cocktail mixers), as well as anything that needs refrigeration to keep in this climate. She can keep her cocktail hour cheeses and such cold, too. That all sounds pretty alcoholic, I guess, but if you know Conni, you know that cocktail hour is a Big Deal for her: to us both. We'll split a beer or have a glass of rosé, hardly a lush's behavior. Conni's happy, Bill's happy.
Friday 4 August, we had arranged an evaluation/valuation of the boat. The surveyor arrived on time and gave the hull a once-over. He'll complete an in-water inspection next week, and since he lives on our neighboring island of Taha'a, we'll visit him in Apu Bay. He told us that the hull is fine, but as is always true of boats as old as ours, there's a bit of water in the hull. He used an electronic device to measure that. The rudder also has water in it, and at some point will need some work, but not now.
One of the things that the guy wanted was for the through-hulls to be inspected. They're all bronze, so painting them with copper-based anti-fouling is a poor idea: dissimilar metals in salt water cause corrosion. He was concerned that they might have some electrolysis damage, so cleaning them to bare metal was key to analysis. I got them all clean after a lot of work (I hate working overhead), then painted them with epoxy primer. When that cures, I'll paint them with our anti-fouling paint for appearance. We had already lubricated the sea cocks, so knew that they worked well. All of the through-hulls were bright bronze underneath the various layers, and we photographed each one to show the surveyor.
Saturday, 5 August, we were ready to take Conni up the mast. It's the last major task for us before being ready for launch. The two big parts of that are to install the Windex (unpowered) and the WS320 wind sensor (powered). The WS320 is solar-powered and uses BlueTooth to transmit its data to a receiver on our stern, then to the network, where it can be used by several instruments to provide usable sailing data. During the layover, I had stored the sensor on the inside table under the overhead hatch, in hopes that it would use that trickle of light to charge its battery. We assumed that the device would "remember" its previous settings and I thought no more about it. To check that it did remember its settings, I tried to pair the antenna mushroom with the sensor. Nope, wouldn't pair. Oh, NO! I tested the battery and of the 2.4VDC it was rated, it registered 0.547VDC: insufficient, and the probably cause for not pairing. So, we had to cancel her trip up the mast and we have one day of indeterminate weather tomorrow to accomplish this task. I set the damned sensor arm into the sun for an hour and re-tested: up to 0.618VDC or so, so it's charging but slowly. I'll keep it directed for maximum sun exposure and check the progress later today. The battery is a fancy nickel metal hydride thing. I'll get a spare and we'll start hauling the sensor arm back home and keep in charging there. Our friend, Richard, came by to deliver some items he was repairing, and offered to take the battery and charge it at his shop. If that fails, he might have some other AAA NiMh batteries that he can cobble together. We hope so.
We have confirmed that all of our navigation lights work. We've confirmed that our newly cleaned windlass works and sounds happy. The fridge is cooling as it should and making ice. It remains to be seen what it does when we're using solar only, but we can't know that, yet. Even if it uses 5A while it's running, since it doesn't run constantly, it'll save precious energy. If it uses less current, it'll only get better. We both have high hopes.
Word is that we'll get splashed on Monday, but we'll see.