Back to 'work'

Tue 16 May 2017 14:17

Before returning to the UK, we had been well advised that Vancouver Island, generally has less harsher winters than the mainland. On this basis, we planned on returning to Canoe Cove at the end of February, thinking we had a least 2 months to undertake a ‘mountain’ of work to Nimue in preparation for our trip to Alaska. Alas, even before we returned, we heard from the Canoe Cove guys, that the weather had been unusually rainy and cold and in fact they were even having large snowfalls! Of course, to prove the point, we had a large dump of snow, the day after we returned………and things were looking ominous for working outside!

We had decided to abort our idea of Airbnb and stay on board Nimue. The Webasto heating was in need of repair, so we were left with electric heaters. Unfortunately, the yard could only provide 15amps, so anything more than a single electric heater set to medium heat flow would trip and cut out. Fortunately, all the goosedown duvets; which I had insisted we kept on board came in handy and at least we stayed warm in bed.

We had specifically gone to Canoe Cove, as the aluminium window frame was corroding, so we had decided to go mad and have a completely new ‘hard’ dodger (sprayhood for us British). We had very specific requirements for the design to include a front opening window and we had been well recommended to Blackline to fabricate the dodger. By the time we had returned, Blackline had already built a wooden template, which they were able to 'sit' on Nimue to check we liked the design. Over the following weeks, they constructed the same thing out of fibreglass.

At the same time as the fabrication work was happening, we had arranged with Vectors, also in Canoe Cove, to have the engine hauled and checked over. The other reason, was to replace all the soundproofing in the engine room, which had disintegrated and each time any one went in there, they were covered in black fine rubber, which had been flaking off for several years. We eventually moved to outside their work shed and the engine was hauled quite easily, as there is a 'get at able’ exit hatch literally right above the engine compartment. Initially, all looked good apart from the turbo, which had to be completely rebuilt and we also needed a new elbow exhaust. Whilst the engine was out we replaced the engine mounts and Michael changed all the hoses. Thanks goes to Heather, who helped Anne strip off the ‘yucky’ old soundproofing and pattern the new heavier and shiny new soundproofing. We were now getting towards at the end of March and the weather was literally awful, with no signs of improvement. There were not many days without rain, and it was cold with temperatures most days of less than 10C.

Work continued. Michael specifically wanted to change the rudder lip seals, which involved dropping the rudder. On doing so, our aluminium rudder shaft had signs of galvanic corrosion, which wasn’t a surprise, as we had seen the first signs of this when we had the boat hauled in the Med. Spain. Now the problem was a lot worse and rather than delaying the inevitable. we decided to have a new stainless steel stock made, along with the ’shoe’ that supports it. This work would take 2-3 weeks, so things from hereon in started to ‘bottleneck’

To make matters worse, we had decided to have our interior cushion covers replaced (the original,17 year old covers, had worn through). We had decided for a complete change, but the work carried out by Yellow Jacket required a lot more of our time, which we hadn’t really factored in.

By mid-April we really couldn’t see how we would be ready for our trip by early May. Our very good friend Kenny had persuaded us to let him come out to join us during the last week of April, but this was on the proviso that he would have to ‘work’!

The weather still hadn’t improved, as expected, although we were teased now and again with the odd sunny day! Kenny got stuck in and helped us polish the boat, replace the new rudder and generally get Nimue ready for launch.

So, with the engine back in, the very elegant new hard dodger in place, a new rudder and the new leather cushions fitted, we launched on another bleak and rainy day into one of Black Line’s slips near the travel lift. As the engine had been rebuilt, Vectors wanted to ensure it was tested before we set off. So we headed out and all appeared well, but we could only get to 2300RPM and the engine wouldn’t rev. properly. We came to the conclusion this was either a turbo or injector problem. This would cause us further delay, as we now needed to secure the services of Corrie, one of Vectors specialist engineers and he wasn’t going to be available for a few more days. Eventually, Corrie came on board and we went for another test. He wanted us to move down to Vectors yard located in Tsehum harbour, just a few miles south of Canoe Cove, allowing easier access to Nimue and he had secured a free slip at their yard. Now it’s time to cut a long story short and it turned out the injectors, which were tested and put back by Vectors, were failing. We agreed to have them replaced and once again Corrie did a great job and the final test run proved to be very satisfactory and everything ran perfectly. In fact we wee getting 3600RPM out of Nimue; which cheered us all up immensely.

Apart from stocking Nimue up with provisions (the Costco saga; that’s another long story...), we were finally ready to depart.

Over the last two and a half months, we had worked 7 days a week with the odd Sunday off and a quick trip to visit our friends Steve and Vicky on Tango in Oregon, USA over the Easter period. We both really enjoyed the break and it was fun to spend time with our good friends again. In fact, we loved the states of Washington and Oregon and hope to return again soon.

The weather had played a major part in delaying our departure and it turned out to be the worst winter on record for this part of British Columbia…what a surprise!

In retrospect, we both vowed to never undertake this amount of work again in a ‘single’ season.