Saturday, August 17, 2013

On The Hook Again!

Sunset over Mt Hartman Bay
After Linda’s last blog about liming, I thought I’d elaborate a bit on boat projects for those cruisers who need to commiserate about cruising (definition: boat maintenance in exotic places).

Back in May the aft head developed a noticeable leak from the same areas around the motor housing where I had already cut new gaskets and added sealant. The aft head was a Frankenstein: an original Bryden Boy with a Jabsco conversion that I didn’t feel was worth additional effort to repair, so it was replaced with a new electric Jabsco head identical to the forward head. Redundancy is good, carrying one spare rebuild kit that fits both is even better!

Household size electric head newly installed. The electric pump helps guests flush copiously.

In Bequia our generator had noticeably less power than in days of old, and combined with leaking antifreeze and some oil, I feared the worst, a blown head gasket requiring a rebuild. When Mike from Palm Tree Marine came out to see if a rebuild was necessary, he was able to determine that one of the cylinders was not firing properly: no fuel from the fuel injection pump. The injection pump is a pricey item for which I had no spare, and Mike assured me that there wasn’t anyone qualified to rebuild it on the island. With a several week delay to have mine rebuilt in the USA, and only a 40% discount over new, I opted for a new one, figuring shipping would likely eat away some of the savings and I would be able to have the old one rebuilt at a future date for inclusion in the spares.
Heavy springs keep these rollers in contact with the camshaft. Seeing the first roller not return to the down position is an uh-oh.

The first pump I had shipped did not appear to function properly, the preservative seemed to have gummed up the works. The replacement was packaged differently, in a sealed bag and well oiled and things moved well. The generator started right up but did not run correctly; it would surge and then nearly conk out. Mike returned to help me look at the governor system once we got the front cover off, and we found a stamped linkage with a bent tab. I guess I had been a little overzealous using the shutoff linkage during one of the runaway surges! With that bent back, a new gasket, and all the governor parts cleaned and reassembled, we restarted it and it purred. The governor maintained RPM (which on a generator, means a steady AC frequency) better than I’d ever seen it, and the refrigerator started easily, even with other loads already being fed (in the past, it would bog down if the electric water heater or the coffee pot were already on).

A rotted drain petcock was the source of the antifreeze leak, which had to be removed, re-tapped and then plugged as a new petcock was not available. The oil leak was repaired with a new o-ring on the raw water pump drive, and all is (knock on wood) running well without leaks.

With the ability for us to provide our own 110V power back in operation, the major obstacle to leaving the marina was gone and I could breathe easier. I tackled a “nice to have” project with some leftover wood from our salon project, some bedside shelves for the master cabin. The long straight shelves were transformed into two small rectangular ones, taking advantage of the expertise and large power tools at Driftwood to make the clean compound cuts which would have been nearly impossible with a hand saw.
Before and after of the main cabin with shiny new shelf installed on the sloping bulkhead.
A week before Carnival we slipped the mooring lines and spent a night in the Sculpture Garden/Marine park before anchoring in Mt Hartman Bay. We were able to bus into town for our favorite Carnival events, Panorama (pan band competition at the national stadium) and the Tuesday parade with all the fancy costumes. We enjoyed these even more than last year, as we were well rested, being away from the all night thump of Soca music. Yes, the days of straight partying for five days (and being able to enjoy it) are officially relegated to long past memories of Mardi Gras!

Far from the dollar bus route, shared taxis (“shopping buses”) are now another scheduled cruiser event, along with yoga, noodling, dominoes, snorkeling, backgammon, music jams, and more events than we have energy for. For the Georgetown cruisers who fear sailing into the far reaches, fear not! The landscape may change, but the activities continue.

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