Sunday 16th November 2014
Yep, filling up in lots of ways....
The boatyard – what a difference a week makes (well 12 days, but who’s counting?) Can’t stick a pin between the boats in the yard now. Mostly it’s local boats getting ready for the season here, and they tend to be out only a week or two. A couple of cruising boats down from the islands too. So it’s much busier and noisier, and our lovely view now has a blinking great trimaran in the way. He’s only out for a few more days though.
Our lovely view across the river... ...now enhanced by the back of a trimaran.
The water tank – was leaking from the inlet/outlet fitting right at the bottom where we could not get to it. We had it taken out and repaired, and shortened by a couple of inches so that we can access the fitting in future, and put back in. We filled it up. And guess what? It’s still leaking. Problem this time is that we don’t know where from. The replacement fitting is bone dry, as are the breather hose fittings and the gauge sender. So it looks like it’s from a weld somewhere, meaning it’ll have to come out again. And it wasn’t an easy task the first time...
Woodwork under the settee had to be removed. Surrounding woodwork had to be protected from knocks.
Exposed tank ready for lifting, just need some strong guys... Tank was manoeuvred through gangway and taken to foredeck.
Then over the side onto the waiting forklift truck. And taken off to the truck to Absolute Stainless for repair.
All this foam was removed by Steve with a garden spade! Foam gone – this is the inside of the hull!
The woodwork was rebuilt beneath the seat and the cardboard removed, the settee and table were replaced and the saloon (our living room) was back to normal. And despite a lot of pushing and pulling, to-ing and fro-ing, grunting and gasping when the tank was actually taken out, there was not a single scratch, scrape or dent in the woodwork. Well done the guys of Norsand Boatyard, led by Neville. Oh, and Steve of course.
Then came the task of putting it back in. It should have been easier, given that the tank was now 2 inches shorter at the big end, but when it came to fitting into the space it came out of, this didn’t seem to be the case. It took a bit of manoeuvring, but eventually it was back in place, with new battening and ‘knees’ to keep it there in place of the foam.
More cardboard to protect the wood. Tank back in and woodwork replaced.
New fitting to replace the leaky one.
And now it looks like we’ll have to do it all over again. Ho hum.
The deck – the caulking between the teak strips on our deck has been softening for some time and rubbing off. If we happen to kneel on the deck, when we get up we have black stripes on our knees. It has also begun cracking, shrinking and in numerous places lifting up. It is not everywhere, but in places water could begin to get under the teak and cause damage. So, with the help of Neville from the yard, Steve has been digging out the caulking where needed, and refilling the gaps between the teak planks. It is a long, slow, monotonous and back-breaking job, so Steve spends a morning at a time digging out, when the weather allows, and then he and Neville mask it up and paint with primer before lunch, then re-caulk once the primer is dry after lunch. It’s good teamwork, and probably half the deck is done. It looks good and hopefully the caulking used here in New Zealand is more UV resistant than the stuff they used in the Med.
The bow masked up ready for re-caulking.
The solar panels – have doubled in number on the back of the boat, and will soon be tripled when we add two more to the sides. Keeping up with the boat’s power consumption is a constant concern for us, especially on longer passages, and we have often thought about increasing our use of the sun to help keep the batteries topped up. We started out with the ability to generate 7-10 Amps depending on the sun, and now we will be able to get up to 30A. Expense, together with the problem of where to actually put more panels, has stopped us so far, but these problems were both resolved when we discovered that the price of solar panels here is cheaper than we have so far come across, and the advance of technology means that we can use smaller panels too. So instead of having two panels on the back, we now have four, and we have had the wire guardrail replaced with stainless steel tube on the stern quarters so that we can fix two more to the sides. These will have special brackets attached so that they will lie flat against the side of the boat when not in use, and will flip up to horizontal/face the sun as appropriate. All we’ll need then is some sun to start filling up the batteries!
Making and attaching fixing frames to new solar panels. The ‘workbench’ - an old patio table found in the yard!
Fixing the last panel in place. Extra bracing to strengthen the solar panel frame.
Solid guardrail ready for a flip-up solar panel.
The solar panels are work in progress, and part of a larger plan to reduce the use of the diesel generator. Another part is increasing our battery capacity, possibly by changing to 6v batteries, and fitting a ‘Smart’ charger to the engine alternator, which increases its charging output when we do have to fall back on the engine. And we’ve been researching wind generators as ours just isn’t up to the job we need it to do, and cuts out when the wind picks up for any length of time – just when we need it to do its job!
So we’ve been filling our time with lots of projects as well as the usual maintenance jobs. Of course, all this filling up leads to quite a bit of emptying – of our pockets! We have a quick and easy answer to that – it’s the price of the adventure. And so far, worth every penny!