A Week's Worth
15 September 2023 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Windy and rainy
Tuesday, we had our meeting with Hinamoe and Dominique concerning replacing our rigging and replacing the mast step. Hinamoe is his understudy it seems, and she's bright and conscientious, and when Dominique is away from the yard, she's the go-to person. We wanted her in the loop.
Conni gets along better with both people, so she did the talking. She explainedt what we need to do and Dominique said that for his yard, ours was an easy task. We were much relieved. Here's the plan. We will depart on schedule next week. We'll be in touch and arrange for our rigger of choice, Fred, to ensure that our rigging type is available in Papeete. Before we depart next week, I'll prepare the mast for the pull by disconnecting and labeling all electrical and instrument wires: our anchor light, radar, steaming/deck light, and VHF radio. With that done, all they'll have to do is remove the mast boot (the plastic cone-shaped piece that spans the gap between the boat and the mast) and disconnect the rigging. At some point in January or February of next year, Dominique will arrange to have the crane truck come to the yard and pull the mast.
When the mast is out, they'll begin the removal of the mast step and begin fabrication of the new unit. He plans to use a very hard wood and soak it thinned epoxy. I didn't catch the name of the wood he wants to use, but it's the same stuff that he used on the exterior staircase to the Carenage office suite. People shuffle up those steps all day, every day and the wood is in the weather, whatever it is. He says it doesn't rot.
When they notify us that the pull is done, and Fred-the-rigger says that the rigging is on the way, we'll fly down to FP and watch over the process. We hope that they will have completed fabricating the new mast step and we'll be ready to replace the mast with the new rigging already in place.
Will it go that smoothly? Probably not. In addition, we just don't want to think about the cost, but what can we do?
We both feel that the path forward is clear to us, Dominique and Hinamoe, and our rigger and we know that it'll be up to us to organize and push the various players to keep on track, but it's not a complex process, just expensive.
We also visited Madame Faux (as we call her), our sailmaker, and she had all of our stuff ready: new binnacle cover (our new instruments protrude), new windlass cover (wind removed our old one), repair on our "Lazy Bag" main cover, and repair on a few winch covers. She does superb work. We've been regular customers for a decade, so have become friends.
I worked on preparing for storage our Mercury outboard. It's a several hour process. Fortunately, I found a wheelbarrow to haul the motor, tools, and other supplies to a work area. Flushing the engine with fresh water, replacing foot lube, greasing all Zerc fittings, and several tasks make it a long process. We've worked hard and we're ahead of schedule.
Conni has been working like a fiend on her list of chores. She's got the deck in shape, the stainless steel cleaned, the windows cleaned, and much more. I do larger projects, such as the engine and such, while she does ten-times my work on myriad small chores.
Wednesday, we finally had the stars align and we were able to gather a long water hose, get our little radios to work, and we were able to flush the engine with fresh water. With that done, we could begin to do the little important tasks that would prohibit running the engine. Today, I removed the raw water impeller on the engine. It's a process and I'll buy an impeller puller someday. I also felt it time to replace the secondary fuel filter on the engine, something that I've never done. After several minutes of struggle, I decided that I needed a "belt wrench" since the problem was access for the large wrench that I use for the oil filter. I asked Conni for some advice, and she replied that I might try a hose clamp. Hose clamp? Yes! Using her idea, I slipped a hose clamp onto the filter, tightened it, and used a cold chisel and hammer to loosen the filter by banging on the hose clamp screw fitting. Worked like a charm! I doubt that I would have thought of it and have never heard of the idea before, but Conni came up with it in seconds. Smart cookie! Still, I'll buy and bring a belt wrench next year.
I spent the last few hours replacing the Racor filter and working on the electrical system. We still have no power to the boat and we need it.
Thursday, it rained most of the morning, rained hard. It's difficult to muster the enthusiasm to swim to the boat and start to work, so we stayed in the room and read. It finally broke enough to make it by 1000. My main task was power, and that's what I focused on.
Electricity...There are two ways to send electrical energy through wires: high voltage/low current or high current/low voltage. Although the US has chosen the second way, high current and low voltage, the rest of the world chose the second way. Our boat is wired for the US system, but we're in a "second way" country. How do we get power to the boat?
Electrical current travels through wires, right? Big wires have less resistance and American boats have big wires for our greater current. If we use only the wiring in our boat, and devices that can handle the higher voltage, it shouldn't matter that the voltage is higher, since that means the current will be smaller. That's been the way for us for the entire decade that we've been in the South Pacific. For whatever reason, we have had trouble this trip with a new wiring system at the Carenage. I've been unable to deduce the problem, and it's not from lack of trying. So today, I bypassed the entire issue. Today, we bought a European-style marine male plug and spliced it to a 4-meter piece of Euro wire that we also bought. The other end of the wire I connected directly to the charger AC input. That allowed us to completely bypass our on-board wiring system: their power supply to our charger, directly. I don't know why the problem occurred, but we've got a working charging system after days of effort. I was able to re-purpose a through-the-deck hole and fed the wire through that. It's not pretty, but we have power and can always get power to our charger.
Conni re-cleaned all of the stainless steel on deck, and re-cleaned all of the plastic stuff in our dodger windows. We got the forward section of the cover in place.
Friday, today, we worked on various projects. Most importantly, the charger was on when we arrived, so the system seems to work. Thank you!
Conni got up the mast, finally. It was overcast this morning and a bit windy, but she's a pro and went anyway. As I was grinding her up to the very masthead, our rigger, Fred, appeared! Between talking to Fred about our re-rigging project and listening to Conni on our walkie talkies, I was not a good conversationalist. Conni completed her work and I lowered her to deck and we all discussed what he was going to do and what we needed to do. It was a good conversation. Of course, we'll be using metric rigging, but that's reasonable. Fred said that the proper rigging will be a bit larger than ours. but that's fine.
I also began work on the fuel filler leak. We've had some water damage to the aft cabin sole, and the water seemed to be coming down the fuel filler hose, so the caulking around the filler on deck was the obvious suspect. Whomever put the system in place used vacuum-rate hose, so it had wire in it: very difficult to work with. They also used a caulk to seal the hose, so it would have been a destructive removal. I discussed things Conni and we chose to make the attempt, but only on the filler port on deck. Still, I realized that it was total commitment to the task, since any caulk seal would be destroyed.
So, I began work. I was able to pry up the filler after an hour of loosening caulk, and was able to lever out the filler neck enough to work with. After doing what cleaning I could, I washed everything with acetone, and applied the Sikaflex 221UV. Now, not to make this sound too easy, it began to rain! Conni recommended that I apply tape to the area, since the Carenange office had only white caulk, so I carefully taped around the filler, applied the caulk and tightened it down to the deck. What caulk squeezed everywhere, of course, but that means a complete coating and even the screw holes had caulk protrude before I seated the screws. Time (and rain) will tell if it worked but it looked promising.
At 3:30, we decided to break for the Friday afternoon: hey, cocktail night!
We're both wearing down, I think. I'm tired from pulling Conni 75-feet in the air, but additionally, we're both tired of the daily effort in the heat. We've got 4 days remaining and much of our work is behind us, so perhaps we can complete things and take a rest day. I hope!