Voyages

These are the voyages of the sailing vessel, Wings.

18 August 2020 | Raiatea Carenage
16 August 2020 | Raiatea Carenage
14 August 2020 | Raiatea Carenage
13 August 2020 | Raiatea Carenage
11 August 2020 | Raiatea Carenage
11 August 2020 | Raiatea Carenage yard
08 August 2020 | Aboard Wings
07 August 2020 | Pension Tiare Nui for the last time
05 August 2020 | Pension Tiare Nui
04 August 2020 | Pension Tiare Nui
02 August 2020 | Pension Tiare Nui
01 August 2020 | Pension Tiare Nui
29 July 2020 | Pension Tiare Nui
25 July 2020 | Pension Tiare Nui
23 July 2020 | Pension Tiare Nui
22 July 2020 | Pension Tiare Nui
20 July 2020 | LAX
19 July 2020 | Los Angeles, CA
09 July 2020 | Anchorage, AK
19 August 2019 | Pension Tiare Nui

SitRep

28 June 2024 | Anchorage, AK
William Ennis | Cool and cloudy
For those of you who follow us, frequently or not, we've been incommunicado for longer than usual. Here's the situation.

In previous years, we've had larger or smaller projects that have been challenging: replacing the engine, installing new electronics, replacing the refrigerator. This year, we had two, major but inter-related tasks.

At the base of the mast is the "mast step", a laminated wooden block about a 10-inch cube. Through bad fortune and some carelessness, that block got saturated with sea water that came through the "mast boot", a piece of plastic that was supposed to prevent that very problem. We did try to remedy the problem, but just didn't know the method. That block must be removed, a new piece fabricated, and re-installed.

Of course, the mast must be removed to accomplish that task, and now we're ready for the second task: replacing all of the standing rigging. This is the stainless steel cabling that supports the mast: 3 on each side and fore and aft pieces.

The sequence of steps is this:

Remove the mast and carefully set it out of harm's way. Our new radar is mounted on it!

Remove and fabricate a new mast step.

Remove the rigging and have it shipped to Papeete on Tahiti where it will be used as a template for new rigging. The new rigging must be shipped back to our yard and a professional rigger must install it.

Re-install the mast and connect the new rigging. Tune the rigging in the yard.

The problem has been that the yard has not responded to our 2 months of requests to provide and estimate and schedule. FINALLY, on 27 June, they provided an estimate for both jobs.

Be aware that our insurance company required the new rigging (every 7 years in the tropics) and we'd be fools to sail the boat with no insurance, so without a clear idea on when or even if the rigging job would occur, we couldn't fly to French Polynesia: no sailing, no reason to go.

The job is expensive, to be sure, but simply has to be done. The delay has been costly, as well. A local rigger agreed to do the job, but he departed for France for holiday before the yard could get itself together, so we must pay for a rigger and helper from Papeete to fly round trip and to provide overnight housing. In addition, we had some cheap tickets that we had to cancel, so it's been a frustrating and expensive exercise.

The Carenage is the best yard in the country and we have made abiding friendships with everyone from yard worker to management. Dominque, manager and owner, is our friend. It's been a tough situation for us.

So, when we have a firm work date, we'll fly to French Polynesia and get as much done as possible, with, perhaps, some sailing as well. We'll see...

The Day to Go

19 September 2023 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Windy, rainy
We've been busy, but have socialized a few times, too. For our last days here, it's a good mix.

Saturday, the main task was to find, label, and prepare all of the wiring in the mast in preparation for removing the mast later. When the mast is lifted from the hull, the wiring goes with it, so when the boat was rigged, the wiring that led to mast equipment was constructed to be disconnected. We had the mast pulled back in 2011 while we were refitting in Alameda, CA. I had forgotten that we had done a good job of identifying the wiring that we needed. For example, we have a bow/spreader light: one fixture with two lights, one focusing downward to the foredeck, one focusing forward to be seen by other vessels. When we rewired it in 2011,we used 10/3 cable. That's a single sheath of cable with three wires in it. Two are for carrying current to the light, one for a common ground. Finding that triplex was a good reminder and made it easy to get it pulled to the base of the mast. The other wire is for the anchor light, and it's a duplex wire: two wires within an outer case.

The radar cable was a bit more complicated since it leads from the radome to the helm in the cockpit and is much more delicate. Finally, we have a VHF coax. We got the job done.

We got the last section of the boat cover erected and attached. We've both begun to strip batteries from our various mobile devices. Conni has cleaned, AGAIN, everything in the cabin. I got the Honda generator prepped for the layover, draining gas, changing oil, re-gapping the spark plug, and squirting Corrosion Block into the cylinder.

Sunday, we also re-caulked three chain plates on port side. Keeping water out of the boat is an ongoing task.

Saturday night, we had dinner with some Australian friends who bought a Passport at our instigation. It had been for sale for a bit, and they asked me to go aboard to check her. I snapped photos and gave a good report, and they bought the boat! They are interesting people, both from South Africa. Riaana, the woman, said such interesting things! She said, "Elephants are the most silent animals. They can walk past you and you'll never hear them." What a personal tale that is. She and Reinhardt have become good friends.

Sunday night, we had dinner with our German friends on Vera. We met them in the rain where we had planned to meet, and they found us. Michael and Britta are great folks and we both hope to keep in touch with them. With both couples, actually.

Monday night, we had "Sundowner" about Turtle Blues, a Passport 42 owned by Reinhardt and Riaana. They are very interesting people and, from our point of view, have lived a very exotic and interesting life. Americans can be fairly boring since most of us are born and live our lives in the same place. Not these two!

Our flight to Papeete departs today, Tuesday, at 1600 local time, so we have come to the end of this season. It's hard to imagine. We'll fly to Seattle, then own the coast to Oakland to see Conni's dad for a few days, the continue on to Anchorage.

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!

Progress

13 September 2023 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Very windy
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 laid out 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. At some point, Dominique will arrange to have the crane truck come to the yard and pull the mast. 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.

When the mast is out, they'll begin the removal of the mast step and begin fabrication. When they notify us, we'll fly down to FP and watch over the process. With luck, it'll take a week for the rigging to be fabricated. 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 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 dropped by Madame Faux, our sailmaker, and she had all of our stuff ready: new binnacle cover, new windlass cover (a wind removed our old one), repair on our "Lasy Bag" main cover, and repair on a few winch covers.

I worked on preparing for storage our Mercury outboard. It's a several hour process. Fortunately, I found a wheelbarrow to haul things to a work area. 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.

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. 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.

Remembrance and Progress

11 September 2023 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Very windy and rainy
A short moment for citizens who died in the attack 22 years ago. I remember the day and what I was doing when I first heard, same as for Kennedy's assasination.

We've been busy after Wings being pulled last Friday. We worked a bit on Friday, but groceries and checking into bungalow were more important.

Saturday, it blew enough to remove any chance of getting the sails down, so we did other work. On arrival, i used a product called Fles Set to r-glue the rub rail on our dinghy. It's a great product and, using some blue tape to hold things in place, I got the rail glued into place. I got the engine oil changed and since there's a pump installed, it's easy and clean. I carefully removed a sample for our engine oil analysis, too. We only had 25 hours on the engine this season, but we still replaced the oil. I got the oil filter replaced, too. I also worked on draining and replacing the transmission oil, but was able to remove only 250ml: hardly all of it. It's a difficult thing to do to find the sump while searching blindly with our tiny manual pump. I also tried to get the power working for the boat, and was totally unsuccessful. What a day! We did make a stop on the way to the bungalow and bought engine oil, so we've got that done for next year.

Sunday was a vast improvement. We worked hard all morning, knowing the the weather prediction was for rain and wind for a few days. We were able to get the main down and stowed in its bag. We moved on to the jib and the weather held, so that, too, was done. Hurrah! Our last deck work was to get the dinghy stowed in its bag. For the most part, that's our deck work. After lunch, and with Conni's help, we got that damned transmission oil removed! We also got our sample for the oil analysis. We've got lots of chores to do, but those are some of the largest, most time consuming, and by far the most weather-dependent. At some point, we'll flush the engine by running fresh water through it: perhaps tomorrow.

After several hours of effort today, Monday, I finally got our power working. I had several problems to deal with. The electrical box that I was using had a bad breaker. The extension cord supplied by the yard had a mis-wired connection. The 5-feet of American marine electrical cable that I was using had corroded wire on one of the included three. Finally, the usual issue of connecting a 220VAC French Polynesian electrical connection to an American 120VAC marine connection. The wires have different colors and it's complicated since each connector has a different set of wire connections. I had no extra US marine electrical cable, so I constructed a Frankenstein cable with an American marine female on one end, a French Polynesian, all connected by 3 lengths of AWG10 wire! Ugly, but it worked.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, we have a scheduled meeting with Dominique, Hinamoe, and Conni and me, concerning our mast pull and mast step repair. Wish us luck.

Season's End

07 September 2023 | Apooiti Bay
William Ennis | Hot and rainy
Our last night aboard is spent in Apooiti, as fortune would have it: Apooiti bookends, as it were. It's a pleasant way to start and end.

Sunday, we sent an email to the Carenage, asking about getting the mast pulled, but heard nothing. We motored there yesterday, Wednesday, and no one had read the email, although they did confirm our pull on Friday. They said that they'd confirm via email. We didn't hear from them, so called and what did they ask? ""Do you want your mast pulled tomorrow?" Preparing for pulling a mast is not something one does in a few hours, something that they should have known. Hmmmmm...

It's been hot and humid today, very hot and humid. We did chores, read, and discussed our mast problem most of the day, and motored in for our second hot, standing showers. They were just as wonderful as our first! Earlier, we motored into the marina and delivered some parts that we want our sailmaker to repair or fabricate. We have a few other pieces, but they're still in use. Madame Regine Faux is a delightful person and she does superb work. Since her shop is in a major charter marina, she has a lot of work and a lot of visibility; she stays busy. Her daughter has begun working with her, so perhaps Madame Faux will retire and we'll work with her daughter. We haven't asked. Afterward, we strolled to Magazin Julien, the little store close by the marina. They don't have a lot and the owner, Julien we suppose, is a crusty old Asian guy. He never wear a shirt and sits at his counter most of the day. He does have baguettes, though, the reason for our journey. What's better than fresh baguette?

We sat outside in the cockpit for dinner, listening to the sounds of the island and smelling the odor of Raiatea. It smells like...what? I was in Kew Gardens outside London a few years ago and it smells like that. It smells like an old greenhouse. There's the smell of rich dirt, mildew, green plants, and perhaps a flower scent hidden in there. That's how it smells. We noted that we could smell the island from many miles at sea when we first approached French Poynesia many years ago. We were so surprised at that. Sitting here in the still air brought back all of those smells.

We're scheduled for the pull at 1000 tomorrow, so tomorrow we'll be in our little bungalow with Wifi, hot showers, and AC. How truly odd to be living on land again.
Vessel Name: Wings
Vessel Make/Model: Passport 40
Hailing Port: Anchorage, Alaska
Crew: William Ennis and Constance Livsey
About: We've been married since 1991, and both retired from our respective jobs (teacher and attorney) after long careers. We live in the most exotic of the United States: Alaska. We cruise on Wings for half the year, enjoying our home state the other part of the year.
Extra:
We've sailed Wings Southward from Alaska since August, 2010. We joined the BajaHaha from SoCal to Mexico in 2012. We joined the Pacific Puddle Jump in 2013 and crossed the Pacific Ocean. Wings "over-summered" in French Polynesia. We continued our journey through western French Polynesia, [...]
Home Page: http://svwings.com
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