Eureka - We have Water!!! 20:52:26N 37:20:90W

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Thu 29 Nov 2007 04:33

The BIG News of the day was the Watermaker. I have to say that Fischer Panda in the UK, who were the supplier and installer of the system, give us fantastic support.  Thank goodness for the Satphone! Chris Baker their Engineering Manager, called this morning and connected me to their HRO watermaker expert. Tim Jones. They were convinced that the problem was with the generator, in so far as one of the power factor correction capacitors had failed. This meant that the generator could not cope with the huge inrush current when the High Pressure pump tried to start. Thus making the Water Maker fail safe systems turn off the Water Maker. So the work around was to bye pass the booster pump, and cut out the booster pump pressure sensor switch. So that the total current consumed by the system as a whole, was significantly reduced. This it was then hoped would bring the starting current down to a level at which the (wounded) generator could deliver.


All very straight forward except……………..


Problem 1: The connection box for the Booster pump had been installed in such a way as it was impossible to open the lid to get at the terminals to disconnect the Booster pump. Even after I had removed the whole box from the bulkhead, it still would not open. So I then had to remove all the plumbing bits from the HP Membrane which is the heart of the system. No room for cock ups here!!





Having jumped that hurdle, the next really stupid bit was to come. Problem 2:  (The air in the room where this kit is installed was turning blue by this point).


I had to get to the terminals on the Booster pump pressure sensor.  This was so I could short them out. To my utter astonishment, this had been installed in such a way that it was impossible to remove the cap that covered the terminals, because there was a screw in it that could only be accessed from behind.  I called Fischer Panda to validate this and they confirmed. So in our travelling bucking Bronco boat, I then had to remove the whole of the pre-filter assembly so I could get to the back of the pressure switch cap. Such fun.




Having completed both of these manoeuvres, I then had to re-assemble the whole lot before I could test out the theory of the work around.


Then came the moment of truth. With all other 230volt electrical devices on the boat turned off, and the generator purring away (238 volts 52.6hz), I attempted to start the water maker. DEEP JOY!! It worked.  So we immediately filled the tanks (at 40 gals per hour) and crew made the most of it by washing out a pile of dirty cloths and then chucking herself into the shower for a well deserved soak and scrub and the all important hair wash. I too felt the need for a good shower after slaving away for 3 hours to fix the Water Maker.


We have been advised that the remaining two capacitors in the Generator will probably fail soon, as with one down the other two are weakened. When this happens the work around, will not work. So we will ensure that the tanks are kept full at all times, so as and when it does fail we will have a mere 800 litres in the tanks to scrape bye, plus all the emergency supply as well.  PHEW………………………….Needless to say we shall be buying several spare sets of capacitors from the Fischer Panda agent in Antigua!


The Goose winging down wind sailing tactic is working reasonably well. That is of course providing the wind is compliant. Which it has been for a large chunk of the time, but not today. It has been all over the place. We have been forced to go on abroad reach for a couple of hours, which when the wind drops and you still have the big seas, results in  the Genoa flapping and snapping like a ring masters whip. This is not good for the longevity of the sail. As a replacement would be over £4,000, we get rather nervous in these circumstances.   But it was all change again and so we went back to Goose winging.



As you can see from the image above, the weather was not at all nice today. Grey and overcast, with Line squalls bringing heavy down pours of rain and very strong gusts.


The sea continues to be confused and there are some large rollers racing up from astern.



These pick up the stern and the boat then races down the wave as it passes below us. This puts the Autohelm under tremendous stress and we had a bit of a problem with that, but (praise be) we seem to have sorted that out now.


These rolly seas and the long distance sailing is not only uncomfortable and tiring for Jennie and I, it is also having a deleterious effect on the boat too. I had been concerned that I would get bored on these long passages. Chance would be a fine thing!!! My days are filled with near constant checks and consequential maintenance. The latest discovery this evening was that the four securing nuts on the engine mounts had worked loose. It was quite an eye opener seeing in excess of a ton of engine, just sliding around on its mounts. I have managed to get to two of the four nuts to tighten right up, but the other two require special sockets or spanners, which I do not have on the boat. So we will just have to monitor the situation and ensure we take it easy with the engine once we motor into Jolly Harbour. Actually to get to one of the nuts requires the removal of one of the alternators and all the associated accessories. Another brilliant piece of engineering! Who dreams up these master pieces??? Most certainly not the folks who have to work on them in the real world.


The other great bit of news is that in the last 24 hours we covered 162NM, our best days run so far. So it was also appropriate that we passed the half way mark at lunch time yesterday. Now we have a piffling 1398NM to go, as I write this. The Maxsea software is telling me we will arrive at the Antigua waypoint on the 7th December. But it looks like the winds will be dropping in the next couple of days. So we will just have to wait and see,



Until tomorrow……………………