Week ending 11 November 2007 – one of those weeks!

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Sun 11 Nov 2007 12:47

Week ending 11 November 2007 – one of those weeks!



Woke up too late for the Grenada Net, try again tomorrow.

Did a huge re-organisation of the tool lockers, using the tool boxes that I did not want to keep.  I hacksawed the hinges off and used the open boxes, trays and lids separately.  Now all the lockers are logical.- power tools, non power tools, materials and bolts, screws and bits.  Please let me now be able to find everything when I need it.


I topped up the diesel tank, just over 20 litres, for over 20 hours motoring is very good.


I thought I was doing very well, but then I checked the engine bilge.  The good news is that the prop seal does not leak.  The bad news is that all my coolant drained out of the engine.  I was too tired to do anything about this except mop up the coolant and put it in a container for safe disposal later.  I will have to face this tomorrow.



So I was awake and worrying for what seems like all night.  If the anchor drags or if the weather turns I have a disabled engine.  I started early and found that the problem was a split hose, it had dropped onto the pump housing where the alternator belt runs through.  I removed the hose from this end and traced it through to the hot water tank on the other side.  I cut the damaged part off in case I could not get the right size and would have to temporarily repair it. 


The Net here starts at 7.30, so I said a belated Hi to Grenada.


First I needed a replacement hose.  I was going to check the chandlers there, but people were going into town, so I went on the bus with them.  I got the hose in an auto shop, I did not have enough EC so I had to use my US.  We looked in the chandlers in town, but they did not have the safety netting that I was still looking for.  We caught another bus and I got some cash, but not much as I had not planned on spending anything in Grenada.  I can use EC in lots of islands on the way up, so this was probably not too bright, but I do not know how much was in the bank.


We left John looking for his plumbing fitting and Bruce and I got a bus back, but Bruce got off part way to do some stuff.  I remembered where to get off and went into the sailmakers to enquire about trampoline netting to use on the guard wires.  It is the most expensive item they stock, but I am thinking about it.  This is more solid than netting, can anyone tell me what the disadvantage of having all that extra windage would be??  I went in the chandlers just to see what they had, they did not have the hose or the anchor I had just bought, which made me feel better.  I was about to row off, but I waited for the next maxi and Bruce was on it.  I offered him a lift back to his boat in my dinghy.  The dinghy is small, I had trouble rowing with the dog and Bruce is a lot bigger than the dog was.  Bruce had to row and this meant getting his legs somewhere so that his knees did not get in his way, and I had to sit on the transom to avoid being bashed by the oars.  Obviously it was into wind and slow going, but we eventually made it to Bruce s boat.  I said exercise was good for him, he mentioned something about his next heart attack.  The fastest 30 feet I managed was when I pulled myself along his boat.


I got the old hose off at the other end and instaledl the new hose.  Not too much of a problem, then I had to cable tie all the pipes back together, remembering to raise up the ones at the alternator end.  I flushed out the heat exchanger and refilled with coolant.  I have just been to an auto shop and two chandlers and forgot to buy coolant.  The litre I have is enough for now, it has to be diluted, there is not much risk of freezing here.  Then it was the big tidy up and time to test the engine. 


The engine started ok and I ran it for an hour, topping up the coolant when it had worked through the system.  I am very pleased that I was able to deal with it without having to ask for help, so far.  I seem to have been very lucky, no apparent damage, but I will have to keep an eye on everything.  If it had not been a 24 hour trip I should have caught this a lot earlier.


I ran the watermaker and bottled the water, the quality is over 1200 ppm, which is high like that in the tank, but it will do for washing, I cannot waste it.  I will see how it goes.


I had to sort the main.  If it is a problem with a sheave in the boom I could find that out by running the rope through the other side which has never been used.  It was too windy to try the sail very much, but it may work.


Time for an evening meal.  I had taken the battery out of the voltmeter tester and fitted it in the smoke alarm.  I have got quite quick at removing the smoke alarm and putting it outside whenever I use the frying pan.  Annoying, but it means well.



I cut and fitted a piece of wood down each side of the anchor roller in the hope that the anchor will not come up between the roller and the hull, but I am not taking the anchor up now to try it. 


I cleaned the filters on the watermaker and will have to see if this makes the water quality any better or whether further action is necessary.

The hull had black streaks and a dirty waterline from Trinidad and so I got the dinghy down to clean the sides.  The wind and current made it hard work on the first side and as the boat goes into wind and tide the second side was no easier.


11 O clock and I was too tired to do anything else.  There is a good breeze here most of the time, which is good for the wind generator and the batteries, even if it did make the housework difficult.  The batteries were fully charged and then some on the way over and have maintained a good charge so far.


I am getting over the feeling that I was run out of Trinidad – I should not have checked out that early, but I need a head start to cover the same distances as bigger boats.  If I had gone down the coast immediately I would have had to deal with the problem that noone would have joined me for a week.  The boat was in Trinidad for 8 months, and I was there for 5, it was overall good.  Instead of seagulls sitting on posts and buoys it was pelicans, I liked that.  Grenada has a lighter feel.  I am sure that if I had been too tired to row over until Monday morning to Customs they would have been ok.  I am happy to walk the roads and catch a maxi alone, even in the dark, but I do find the accent here difficult to understand.


Apart from milk, water and drinks there is only some butter in the fridge and if batteries get low I may turn it off.  My batteries are still over 90% and I am trying to keep them there and only running the engine for an hour every 3 days to run the watermaker.  The wind generator is rarely still.


I rowed ashore to swap some TT for EC $ with someone going the other way.  TT money is no good out of the country, even the RBTT, Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, here in town does not accept the money.  I opened a tin of mandarins, Canaries stock, and they were out of date and awful, so I threw them away.  There were another two tins that I also had to ditch, but the fourth tin was a different make and tasted a bit tainted, but I ate those.  I have been checking through the food, but I will have to check the tins.



Are we having fun yet?  This question comes up quite frequently, especially when a problem has arisen.  There is always work to be done and as soon as one problem is fixed something else breaks; it seems endless. 

There are cruisers that seem to have been doing this for ever; new enthusiastic cruisers; not so enthusiastic ones where the couple, or just one of them, want to give up and go back to normal life; and then ones like me who are not new, but not old hands and are not sure whether they are enjoying themselves. 

As soon as I set off for somewhere new I get excited, I realise that I do love my boat, my wind generator and all the equipment.  I just wish these things would tell me if they are in difficulty rather than wait until it gets so bad that they give up.


Today I put the extra anode on the prop shaft.  This is just in case the shaft comes out of the coupling.  I have placed the anode near enough to hopefully keep the engine going while I deal with the problem.  There is the danger that I will not notice there is a problem in time and then the anode will wear away at my prop seal.  ****** if you do and ****** if you don’t.



Then I went to the chandlers here and bought 4 set screws for the prop shaft, all the same thread size, but in different lengths.  I have put the shortest one in the shaft over the top of the original one to help keep it in.  All this attention to the shaft, where it never has given me a problem, but belt and braces wherever possible.


I did try the main when I had the awning down; I cannot put it by hand but it winches in and out very easily. 


The only other task I did was to replace the tape on the rigging screws.  A bit of a lazy day, because tomorrow will not be.



Time to change the oil.  I ran the engine for an hour to run the watermaker and warm the oil up.  I have a little brass pump to pump the oil out, but I could not get any pressure.  I gave up on the pump and took the nut out of the bottom of the engine and all the oil ran into the bilge.  Very messy.  I was covered in oil and the stairs were up in the air; the hatches and the cockpit locker were open and it rained.  I finished changing the oil and the filter and decided that if anyone was doing the survey today on ‘Are we having fun yet?’ they could put me down as a ‘No’.


I topped up the batteries, even though it was not the middle of the month, because I had done more motoring in 24 hours than in any normal 2 week period.  I checked the impeller, which was fine.  I heard a noise coming from somewhere and found it was the raw water strainer, so I tightened the top until the noise stopped. 


I seem to have too much air in the watermaker hoses and when I was investigating this I found the hose from the washbasin had a hole in it.  I could put a plug in the basin, but the problem is the water coming in from the sea, any through hull fitting is scary and potentially lethal from a sinking point of view – why do we have this many?  I have 7 including the log impeller and must keep more of an eye on them.  The hard part was getting the old hose off the stopcock without causing damage.  You hear of fittings coming out of the bottom of the boat when people start with them, not good at any time and especially so when afloat.    I replaced the hose.


Now I only have two extra pieces to deal with.

The hose that was obviously an overflow in the engine compartment, I have a new piece of hose, but do not know where it goes.

There is a washer type fitting that I found on the side by the engine.  I am fairly sure that this goes on the throttle lever that was adjusted, but I will think about this for a little longer before I take anything apart.


I had a snooze on deck in the afternoon and then managed a couple of hours ashore, where they had a band.  This is the first social thing I have done since I arrived.



It rained.  I used the water from the dinghy to do the washing.  A short rain shower supplies quite a few litres of water.  I have some good water in bottles that I am saving to refill the tank when I have used up what is in there that is not so good.  I also have some 5 litre bottles of TTSA water that is also not so good, but I do not want to add it to the tank.  I realise that I should have been using the bottled water rather than the tank, that way I will release bottles to store good rainwater in.  This self-sufficiency takes adapting to, but I get there.


I disposed of the used oil and the clothes that I had been wearing and looked round the chandlers, but managed to come away without buying anything.  Once a day I have to row somewhere, to get some exercise and get off the boat.


I heard that the flotilla had reached the river, I think there are 4 boats.


Spent the morning redesigning the water catcher.  When I thought I had got a reasonable set up it didn’t rain anymore.


Those people lucky enough to be in the Caribbean, if you pick up a copy of November Caribbean Compass turn to page 5 and I am there – 1044.  Otherwise you could try www.caribbeancompass.com.



It had rained a little overnight, there was some in the rain catcher, but it was forming pools and not getting to the hose fitting, more adjustment necessary. 


I listened in to the Coconut Net on the SSB this morning to try to hear how the boats are doing down the river.  My reception was bad, I heard something about Rainbow Warrior, but I will have to do something with the aerial.  I had tried to wire the aerial in to the shrouds, but obviously more adjustment is necessary.


I wanted to buy a spare spark plug for the outboard, but I did not know what size it was.  I had the outboard undone now, no other tools would fit through the opening and do the job, so I would have to get the big socket set out.  This is the exception to the organized lockers; it is so big it has to go in with the bolts and bits, right at the bottom.  There in the box was a 10mm spark plug remover socket and it took moments to get the plug out.  If I had taken the time to get the correct tool in the first place then I could have avoided all that struggle.


We have arranged a game of dominoes here this afternoon, old habits die hard.