A series of events / or why maintenance is important

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Sun 15 Mar 2015 07:17
Some of you ask me if it is necessary to maintain things on board as much as we do.
Is it the age of the boat or her state that does it so challenging?
Well I think we can start by writing that we have a boat nearby that was bought brand new and the owner
truly thinks he has as much to do as we have.I would say that those that own steel boats have a double load of work compared to us...
A skipper on a steel boat said the other day "I have a steel boat and a PC with Windows 8, I have no spare time!"
I think the challenge is that boats en route do a lot of mileage and that we cannot afford any mishaps that can become dangerous.
On a boat it becomes evident that it all works together,we can get a series of problems from a small pin or a failed valve.

If one part is misbehaving in one end it puts a lot of stress on others and they start to break.
Let me give you an example that is not life threatening to start with.
We have one fridge that is on (the other we only keep as a spare) 24/7, a fridge is the most demanding electrical consumer on board, especially in these
temperatures. The system is water cooled, meaning it takes sea water and cools the compressor and that in it self is a raw water pump that turns on every time the fridge
starts the cooling process.
A few weeks ago I thought our power consumption went up or the charging could not keep up with consumption.
First I blamed the weather, no wind and no sun=no charge. But I noticed that even after a charge with the diesel generator the power dropped fast during the next 24 hours.
Started to check the batteries, they were good. I thought the fridge pump sounded a little bit more than usual, checked the filter on the intake. Cleaned it out.
After a couple of days the pump started to sound a lot more and when I touched it it was warm.
Took apart all the pipes on the intake and it was free flow. Could it be the outflowing side?
I digged myself down the machine room, found the fitting and the valve. Took apart the hose and found a dead stop on that end.
Now if I would not hunt a thing like that we would most probably run down the pump to destruction and at the same time start charging a lot which means more hours on the generator...
This is something that could be avoided if we were a crew that did nothing else than running a maintenance program. But we try to look at things and as soon as we see something
that needs to be taken care of we put it on a list.
For instance Ellinor was up in the mast today and she noticed a rivet was loose on the spinnaker boom, she told me and we have it on the list.
A loose rivet puts more stress on the others and if we leave it we can count on the spinnaker boom loosing the end in the middle of an ocean passage when the weather
is bad.
I guess all these details keep us busy and the boat is kept in much better condition than if we were just sailing in home waters.

On top of that Im repairing bicycles right now, 2 flat tires in a row...
We use the bikes on daily basis and we can keep them ashore.
It is so unusual with bikes that Fijians laugh and wave when we come. Especially wearing a helmet they probably think we look like UFOs.
An Austrian guy that lives here and bikes a lot around here tried to tell me that the helmet makes me look silly in the eyes of the Fijians. He does not wear one...
Well I just told him that without a helmet I look even more funny, especially if I hit the road.
End of discussion.
But the traffic is very friendly and as a biker Im not even near the adrenalin production I can get in Stockholm.
I would say there is no adrenalin at all. Everybody stops and waves us by. One thing that is funny; we had it in Sweden in the middle of the sixties, on the country side.
If you biked on a road the cars would warn you that they approached with sounding their horn.
Well those times are over, in Sweden. Here we are there now, the kids ask every time, why do they honk?
Most cars here are taxis, very few can afford a car, and riding a taxi i super cheap. When we go with our propane bottles we usually take a cab to the gas depot. It is probably 8-10 km to get there.
The driver takes us there and waits fot the bottles to be filled, since we are usually 2-3 yachters sharing, it takes half an hour to fill the bottles (not to mention the papers to be filled in).
Then we ride back and it totals 7-10 Fiji Dollars (4€).
The drivers are always cheerful and friendly, very curious on why we are here and they answer our questions with great generosity. All accompanied by some Hindi remix music....
If you have not checked Hindi remix, do it- it is beautiful!