Fruit Salad - from Guava to Mandarin, a change of mooring but still living ashore

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Fri 2 Mar 2012 16:00

Position           26:06.12N 80:09:46W

Date                1600 Friday 2 March 2012


Our boat host for Caduceus’ first three weeks in Fort Lauderdale required to have work done on his dock so the hunt had been on for a suitable replacement.   Friends, Henk and Susi Koonstra,  met at a Seven Seas Cruising Association Pot Luck Supper, came to the rescue with a recommendation to contact Fred and Elsie Davies who live along the next canal and where their friends Fritz and Alba had their boat.  A telephone call and a visit showed that the dock available belonged to Fred’s next door neighbour for whom Fred managed the dock.  It was just what was required and a deal was done.


Whilst this “voyage” was all of 500 metres from Guava Isle to Mandarin Isle, it was made a little complicated by having to reverse back into the new canal and there was not an enormous room for manoeuvre.  Susi and Henk turned out to assist armed with boat hooks for fending and we were soon safely in our new berth.



The first three weeks have also seen activity ashore.  We have attended All Saints Episcopal Church near Las Olas Boulevard; a wonderfully inclusive church and member of the worldwide Anglican Communion and with a decidedly familiar feel.  Meeting of the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) have introduced us to new friends.  An outing to the Miami Boat Show was disappointing if you were looking for sail boats but nevertheless useful to us for supplier contacts. 


Generally organising ourselves, making use of the WiFi connection in the apartment for email and Skye calls, getting the boat ready for living aboard and attempting to get some exercise seemed easily to fill the available time.


It is worth perhaps just filling in some details for the last three weeks.  We have been taking advantage of the excellent facilities, suppliers and specialists that are on hand for a minor refit.  I have included the detail and contacts in the event that anyone passing this way and requiring assistance may find the information useful.  Telephone numbers have been included for individuals.


First we at last replaced our set of batteries, all 13 of them, using the Fort Lauderdale battery Company.  The old batteries had done nearly five years which is not bad at all.  It was a wise decision to have them delivered and put into place with the old ones taken away as they represented a considerable weight.  I did the uncoupling and coupling up of the replacements.



The next major undertaking was to sort out the secondary anchor winch.  During the layup in Norfolk the ‘Up’ deck switch had failed causing the winch to try and run continuously.   A switch was procured and fitted but then the winch would not work in the ‘down’ direction.  Enter Richard Haselhurst, an ex-pat Brit, originally from Wivenhoe near Colchester, who was recommended as a good marine electrician; telephone (954) 401-1290.  He diagnosed the problem as a failed relay and I started the research for a replacement.  The genuine Lewmar replacement was available at $350 with a 25% discount.   Ward’s Marine Electrical in Fort Lauderdale was able to source the identical part, as in exactly the same part but without the Lewmar label, for $154 after Richard’s discount and I fitted it.  We now have two working anchor windlass which is reassuring as we head out for a couple months mainly at anchor.


Next on was the failed freezer thermostat; fortunately for the food this had failed in the on position but it was rather heavy on the electrical consumption as the freezer tried to achieve absolute zero.  A chance encounter at the Miami Boat Show with a Climma agent for the eastern USA showed that our existing Fridge/Freezer combined thermostat was no longer made but that there was a digital replacement which would make getting an accurate temperature much easier.  These were supplied and fitted by Rob of Nautical Specialists, telephone (954) 260-8859, recommended by Joel Potter the Amel specialist yacht broker in Fort Lauderdale


The other major work involved sorting out the solar panels and associated controller plus the battery monitor which had developed a mind of it own and was definitely filed in the fiction section.  The solar panels have given concern for some time and we had burned out cells on two of the four panels.  Sorting out the who and the why this very unusual problem occurred is on-going; getting a fully wiring efficient replacement was the priority.  Bob Everhard of eMarine, a solar equipment distributor came up with good advice and supplied four replacements at a price well under half the UK equivalent.


Anchor Marine Electric removed the panels and put the new ones in place.  This unfortunately was not a one man job and actually required two of them and me to get everything off the boat and back in place without dropping valuable bits in the canal.



An upgraded replacement controller was supplied by eMarine, a Morningstar MPPT 40 which I wired into the system.  West Marine, via the irrepressible Pam Wall supplied an upgraded replacement Xantrex Battery meter.  I also fitted digital ammeters to the wind generators so all in all I have a much better grip on what is happening, or more importantly not happening in the power department.