December 31st 2011
Position N 27° 22.225’,
W 82° 37.075’.
Longboat Key Club Moorings, FL
The last day of the year, phew! The past year has been a year of much excitement and change; it has also been one with happiness and great sadness. As I write this blog entry Lavinia & I are gathered with other family in Pensacola, FL offering comfort and some distraction to our daughter Lavinia and our three grandchildren from the sad recent event of the death of Joey Harrison our son-in-law. Joey passed on 27th Dec. at the young age of 41. Joey had been sick for seven months after a terminal cancer diagnosis. We will all miss him greatly...
From the personal point of view never in our lives have we experienced such a transition? Starting the year living in a large four bedroom home surrounded with all the trappings that go with a home, gardening equipment and machinery, large home appliances including the house sized vacuum cleaner, huge ironing board, large food processors, coffee maker, toaster etc., None of these things would work on the boat. In spite of these challenges we are ending the year in a few hundred square foot boat! Remarkably we did it with little or no time off work. All we have left is to empty a small storage unit and two car trunks! We have found homes for our cars when it is time to leave so we are almost ready to ‘cast off’. I have written before that our target month to set sail south is late October/November 2012. Between now and then we will both be working hard at our jobs and continuing to outfit ‘Partners’ to the specification we want. One important addition to the navigation electronics is a new Simrad autopilot which will give us complete redundancy. Steering a boat hour after hour is not my idea of fun so the autopilot redundancy is a priority as far as I am concerned. I will be adding another laptop computer loaded with our Nobiltec Admiral 11 software and C-Map charts to give us triple redundancy in this department. The existing Simrad pilot is interfaced with a Garmin chart plotter so we will have three navigation software sources able to drive two auto pilots. We also have three GPS/WAAS sources. One other ‘quirk’ that will need rectifying is the searchlight wiring...during our trip to Florida from North Carolina we had occasion to turn the searchlight on and when we did the autopilot failed, the alarm went off the pilot disengaged and we were left bemused. Turning off the searchlight enabled us to reset the pilot so I am assuming that both the pilot and the searchlight share the same power source and the current taken by the searchlight was great enough to ‘starve’ the autopilot. I will be rewiring the searchlight to rectify this problem. I had the stabilizer actuator seals replaced at Sailcraft Service; these need attention every three years. Again, during out trip south from NC, we experienced a failure of the starboard stabilizer fin. The oil alarm sounded, we were leaking oil somewhere. Needless to say the weather was the roughest of the whole trip, movement was very difficult and we had to get to the bowels of the boat to try and identify the leak. With difficulty we established the starboard fin was the culprit. It wasn’t a hose which would have been a relatively easy fix, so we would have to wait until the end of the trip to further investigate the source of the leak. FOJ and I have now dismantled the unit and think that the culprit and problem is the sensor feedback unit. We called Naiad and ordered a new seal and some o-rings; we were delighted to find out that the cost was a mere $16! I hate to think what the labour charge would have been had we called in the Naiad rep. The parts have arrived now so I will be calling John/FOJ when we return to Sarasota and ‘Partners’. All quality boats come equipped with very good manuals which usually include schematics and explicit maintenance instructions. By following and reading the manuals most people can perform most of their own maintenance which dramatically transforms the annual maintenance budget. FOJ, an excellent electrician has taught me much the one big thing is ‘find the book first’. I, in the past, had a tendency to ‘look’ at the problem and to blindly start disassembly only to find later, after encountering a problem, I should have followed a different procedure. FOJ’s methodical approach doesn’t have instant gratification but it sure beats doing the job twice! One is never too old to learn. One thing I do have, built up over many years and three previous boats, is a comprehensive collection of tools. Before leaving the boat maintenance subject I must say that not only when we called Naiad did the parts representative talk us through the repair and advise on the parts we would need but when the parts arrived they came with an easy to follow instruction sheet. We replaced the transmission cooler in Palm Beach during our voyage home the same great service came from American Diesel on this occasion too. You see a pattern here, doing one’s own maintenance is possible, with each job confidence builds. I am still working but when we begin our cruising I will have time which will make more projects possible.
|6.7 Litre Ford Lehman|
Tonight we will be raising a glass to all readers, friends and family...Happy New year everyone!