July 2012 - Chesapeake - Page 4

21 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
I was feeling a little bit dull this morning, but not as bad as I expected.   It rained for most of the day, so we spent the morning getting on with indoor jobs, but I had a quick talk to Chuck who still hasn’t managed to order the heat exchanger.  He’s waiting for an email back from Fischer Panda in Germany – we’ll be lucky to get away from here by the middle of August.

Windlass back in pieces

I fitted the new doors for the heads. I’ve had to pack out the hinges by 2mm, but we can get on and paint them now.  Not able to avoid it any more, I replaced the Joker valve on the front toilet – a lovely job with the “residual” water pouring out of the 2 inch pipe over my hands as I undid the toilet fitting – yuk!  Glenys disappeared off in the afternoon on a bike and went for some therapeutic shopping – mostly to get out of my way, I think.

The bilge pump hasn’t been priming properly and isn’t pumping out any water, so I removed it to service the valves.  Unfortunately, while disassembling it, a bolt snapped off in the motor.  Try as I may, I can’t even get the motor off the pump assembly now, so I’ll have to buy a new pump – that’s another $150…

I had a quick look at the windlass and unfortunately the gearbox is leaking oil.  I’m not sure what to do now – do I go through the trauma of removing it and possibly breaking it, or do we live with a slight leak of oil in one of our cupboards?

22 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
It was still overcast with light rain this morning.  I woke up with an urge to remove the windlass and sort out the faulty seal in the gearbox.  Glenys disappeared off to do the laundry with her laptop for the morning, while I cleared the front cabin (again) and pulled the windlass apart.  Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to separate the gearbox from the motor, never mind disassemble the gearbox.  I sent an email off to the Lofrans Distributor to see if they have any instructions on how to replace the seals.

In the afternoon, I pulled the Series Drogue out the front cabin locker and then designed a deployment bag for it.  The idea is that it will be a long thin bag that will stow on the aft deck below the backstay and ensure that the ropes don’t tangle giving us a smooth deployment.  I’ve based it on the same principals as a parachute container with flaps and I’ll stow the line in a figure of eight to prevent tangles.  If we have to use this drogue, it will be a horrible storm and I want it to be as easy to deploy as possible – the nightmare scenario is getting it all tangled up.

A few more little jobs, an hour’s guitar practise and the day was gone.

23 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Another week starts in glorious Deltaville – our sixth in this blessed place.  First thing in the morning, the travel lift came and moved us further up the yard so that the crane could get access.  Glenys started polishing stainless fittings on deck and when they brought the mast over, she moved onto polishing stainless steel fittings on the mast before they lifted it into place.  Clifton and the crane soon arrived and they hoisted the mast in place – we look like a proper sailing yacht again. 

The mast finally being lifted into position

I showed Mack the exploded drawing of the windlass parts and he agreed with me that it needed a bit of brute force and ignorance to get the motor off the gearbox.  Back at the boat, I used a lump hammer and screwdriver to get it off.  Satisfied that I was progressing with the windlass, I moved onto the new winches.  The yard technician had left the bolts too long, so that they protruded down below the headlining.  I removed the bolts and cut them to the correct length.  This took me a couple of hours, which would have cost me $150 if the yard had done it.

Later in the evening, while browsing on the Internet, I discovered that Panda Fischer have an SOS 24/7 helpline.  I sent them an email hoping that they’ll be able to sort out a new heat exchanger for me - the Panda Fischer distributor in the USA is useless.

24 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
I spent all morning in the marina lounge waiting for emails from Germany.  I spent the time ordering new bits and pieces from an online marine store.  Panda Fisher eventually responded and gave me a quote – it looks like they can ship the heat exchanger by FedEx and it could be here on the 27th.  Unfortunately by the time that I’d responded back, it was after five o’clock in Germany and they’d finished work.

Back at the boat, it was so bloody hot that it was difficult to do anything. I received two new blocks for the running backstays, so I fitted them and the new Dynema running backstays. Then I went to the chandlers to get some ¼” rope and small blocks for the tie down lines to pull the runners into the shrouds.

Glenys lurked down below and started painting the cupboard doors for the heads.

25 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
I was up at 0400, so that I could communicate with Fisher Panda in Germany – it was ten o’clock over there.   They sent me a quote for the part and FedEx delivery, so I paid it immediately.  Hopefully it will be here by the 27th. The cost of the part was 50% of the price quoted by the US distributor - I'll never deal with them again.

Now that I had all the parts on order with delivery dates, I stayed in the lounge and worked out another project plan to ensure that I’ve not missed tasks.  As I walked into the car park at ten past six, I met Chuck coming into work.  I told him the good news and said that I’d be back later to run through another project plan – for some reason, I don’t think that he was pleased to see me at that time of morning.

The damn heat exchanger

Glenys was still in bed when I got back to the boat, so I quietly started to pull the windlass gear box to bits.  I had some success, but wasn’t able to separate the main helical gear from the top section. It’s a bugger that the seal that I want to replace is right inside the whole assembly, so I have to pull the whole gearbox apart – very scary.  I took the gearbox across to the workshop and asked Chuck to get someone to pull it apart for me.

Mack had lifted the generator up on a hoist for me, so I grabbed a load of tools & cleaning stuff and spent three hours cleaning up the generator – I found a few more small things to be fixed in the process and gave a list to Mack. Hopefully he’ll be working on the generator tomorrow.

In the afternoon, I routed the wires from the mast back into the goose neck ready to connect tomorrow.  Glenys painted the doors again and cleaned up some removable woodwork such as towel holders, cup holders, etc. that need varnishing.

The other parts for the generator arrived yesterday, so I was hoping that Mack would be working on it this afternoon, but that didn’t happen.  When I asked Chuck if it would be done tomorrow he said he didn’t know, but hoped that it would be.  I told him that I would be “spitting out my pacifier” if there was no work done tomorrow.  Later in the afternoon, I bumped into Keith in the car park and asked him how I could get someone working on my boat tomorrow.  He said that he’d talk to Chuck.  I’ll not hold my breath.

26 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Magically, I had people working on my projects today - funny how moaning to the boss always works.  Mack was busy finishing off the generator and getting the engine mounts & cutless bearing ready to fit. 

I had to go to the dentist and have my new crown fitted - $1,200 - thank you very much.  Once back at the boat yard, I found that one of the engineers had separated the helical gear from the windlass gearbox, but unfortunately there’s a bearing that is badly corroded which needs replacing.  I managed to get hold of Jim Thomas at Imtra and ordered a replacement – it should arrive tomorrow.

Glenys persevering with the dinghy cover

The courtesy car was available, so I took our old hatches, 35lb anchor, EPIRB and a 20A solar panel regulator down to the marine consignment store.  This is a great system where you leave your things to be sold, typically getting half the value of new items.  The consigner gets 25% of the selling price.  I told them to hold the cash for me and I’ll pick it up when we come back past here in the autumn – hopefully I might get $1,000 for the lot if it sells.

Glenys meanwhile, was sanding down various pieces of woodwork that need varnishing and finished off the cupboard doors by fitting the hinges and latches.  In the afternoon, I did a few more small jobs and went shopping again for more parts – rope for the outhaul, fittings to adjust the bimini, etc.

As it was our 32nd wedding anniversary, we went out for a meal with Robert and Heidi from “Nuwam” which was very nice – steamed seafood all round.

27 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Mack turned up first thing this morning, installed the cutless bearing and then spent most of the morning replacing the engine mounts.  Unfortunately, the boat yard has ordered the wrong propeller shaft seal, so that will have to wait until a replacement arrives on Monday – I despair!  

We had a bumper day for deliveries, receiving five packages from Defender – Sunbrella for the storm drogue bag, a 2 million candle power search light, SSB antenna cable, etc, etc.  I also received the windlass bearing from Imtra which was good news. The heat exchanger also arrived from Germany and Mack fitted it to the generator in the afternoon.

The fabricator finally graced us with his presence and took away the aft bimini frame to make some modifications to it.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the equipment to bend stainless tubing, so I had run around trying to organise someone to put an additional 15 degree bend in the tubing - I was severely hampered by not being able to take the courtesy car outside Deltaville town limits.  Finally, I managed to get Chuck to sort it out for me and it should be bent by Monday morning, when I’ll have to deliver it back to the fabricator to finish the job off.  

Glenys spent the morning sanding and varnishing again, replaced some of the completed items and then went shopping on her bike in the afternoon.  It was absolutely blistering in the afternoon, so I did a few small jobs and then retired down below to tidy up and re-build the windlass, which went together well – we’ll do the final fitting tomorrow.

Generator finally ready to go back into the boat

The generator is now ready to go back into the boat, so the grand plan is to use the crane to install it on Monday morning and then try to launch us on Tuesday – it’ll be a miracle.

28 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Glenys went to the local farmers market first thing in the morning, while I prepared the front cabin to install the windlass.  It’s a right palaver – remove all of the junk that has been stored in there, then remove the mattresses, then clear the cupboard and get a pile of books ready.  Why books?  Well, the windlass is very heavy and needs to be lifted up to four screws in the underside of the deck fitting and the best way of gradually lifting it up is to slide thick books under it.  When Glenys came back we fitted the windlass which now works perfectly – tick another job off the list...

Glenys carried on with sanding and varnishing, while I pottered around doing small jobs and running into town to buy bits and pieces.  It was so hot in the afternoon that it was impossible to work outside, so Glenys retired to the lounge to use the internet.  She had a long chat with our son Craig who is planning to put in an offer on a small house in Reading.

In the evening, we went out to the Deltaville Marine Museum to watch a live band.  We went to one of these events a month ago – it proves that we’ve been here too long. 

29 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
It was Sunday today, so we had a late start - getting up at half past eight.  Once up, I set to work, moving the fittings for the back bimini frame and sealing up the old holes.  Glenys did some more varnishing; did some more work on the dinghy cover and helped me.

I then moved onto fitting the various blocks and cam cleats for the “tidy line” for the running backstays.  It was a bit of a mission because I had to drill quite a few holes in the topsides and I had to pull down headliners and check where the drill holes were going to come through – the last thing that I want now is to drill through some wiring or pipework. 

It was so hot in the afternoon (again) that I was becoming incoherent with dehydration even though I was trying to drink lots of water.  Glenys gave up and hid down below with the air conditioner.

We had a quiet night in.

30 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Start of our seventh remorseless week here in Deltaville.  The plan was for the yard to install the generator today, but Mack didn’t get started on it until mid-morning because he was being pulled onto other jobs.  I was getting frustrated hanging about until Mack finally arrived with the crane and I was able to help out.  Glenys continued with her varnishing and is still trying to sort out the dinghy cover which is proving to be a challenge (so she keeps avoiding the job.)

Mack managed to get the generator lowered into the engine room within half an hour, but then took ages while he laboriously connected the base tray, the mounting struts and numerous cables and pipes.  The generator was hanging in the crane for about three hours, while he tried to get everything fitted, before it was finally lowered down onto the mounting frame.   In my humble opinion, he’s tried to assemble the mounting components in the wrong order and, by the end of the afternoon, he still had eight bolts to fit in the flexible mounts - it’s going to be a struggle to line it all up.

The generator finally being lifted into position

I’m a little depressed by the situation, Mack is a very good mechanic, but is seriously overloaded with work and doesn’t have time to think through and plan a job properly.  The result is that the job is taking longer than it should and potentially I’ll end up paying more for his time.  I sent a warning email to Chuck saying that the time for this job will have to be adjusted.  God, I want to get out of here.

On the bright side, our son Craig has had his offer accepted to buy a house – he and Kristen are so excited.

31 July 2012   Deltaville, Chesapeake
Mack turned up at half past seven and said that he’d been given a bollocking by the management because of my email – I apologised to him, but he seemed pretty cool about it all.  He was convinced that he’d be able to get the generator installed and proved it by having the mounting studs all fitted an hour later – he’s a really good engineer. 

I left him to it and pottered about doing a few small jobs including fitting a sealing plate to the front dorado vent that has been leaking every time that we encounter heavy seas. Glenys finished off her varnishing and reworked the dinghy cover – it’s nearly there now.  Chuck dropped off the new aft frame for the bimini which has been bent to fit exactly between both of the main winches, so that we can use the winch handles effectively.  Glenys and I fitted it in place.  It still needs a couple of inches cutting off the length, but I want to adjust it a little bit more when we have the main sail installed.

Mack worked on our boat all day (at $75/hr) and managed to get all of the stern gear job completed as well as most of the generator installed, so we’ll be going back into the water tomorrow – we can’t believe that it’s actually going to happen.  There will be a few more days of work to be done, but we’re now hoping to be sailing away on the 4th August.  The wind looks to be perfect for heading north on the 6th and 7th, so “Maine here we come.”