The high winds came as predicted, it always seems worse at night when you’re trying to sleep, we could hear it howling through the masts causing halyards to rattle, this noise along with the rocking and jolting of the boat as it pulls on the mooring lines, caused us a couple of restless nights!
Winds blew consistently in the 30’s with gusts of 50 kts. We walked along to the beach to take a look and got completely sandblasted and salt sprayed, it was difficult to walk in the wind and waves were crashing over the rocks so we didn’t hang around there for long!
There were no boats going in or out of the narrow, shallow marina entrance in these conditions!
Luckily we seemed to be on the right side of the pontoon, boats on the opposite side had their bows into the wind and were almost on a lean at the mooring!
Thankfully it only lasted a couple of days and we were soon back to normal
However, this has enabled us to focus on some ongoing jobs which need to be finished before we leave.
The glass on our compass had gone very foggy and yellow, although it looks reasonably clear in this picture it was very difficult to read particularly in sunlight and darkness.
It was the original one supplied when the boat was built so as it was almost 20 years old, we decided that it was time to replace it. Paul removed it and rewired ready for a new one to be connected.
Our new shiny one arrived and was installed into place.
Thankfully we will now be able to see what direction we’re going!
We have also replaced our anchor, we had a 16kg CQR anchor which has served us really well, once it was dug in it never let us down even in 40 kt winds (however, getting it to dig in was sometimes a challenge)!
After much research we decided on upgrading to a spade 25kg anchor. Being so much bigger and heavier than the old one, we had to tie it on to hold it in place.
We then had to cut a link of thick chain to connect the anchor to the new swivel and chain.
As it was not compatible to fit with the old anchor securing pin, we did a temporary fix and used a piece of smaller chain and shackles to hold it on to the bow.
Hope the bow roller and windlass are up to the job!
Also this week we have completed the electrical work on board. This has been an ongoing project since we carried out the battery upgrade in the summer (plus implementing some lessons learnt)!
Here is a short technical interlude:
The first job was to install the inverter charger in the engine room to replace the old smaller charger. This weighed 18kg so manoeuvring and placing this unit in a confined space was no mean feat, fortunately it fitted in the space available with millimetres to spare.
This then needed to be correctly wired in to the boats 240 volt circuit. Having experienced a few sparks flying during the battery installation, we engaged the assistance of one of our fellow winter liveaboards in the marina to help us with this as he is a professional electrician with the required skills and experience. (Don’t worry, Paul is under full supervision)!
Now we can plug in small appliances whilst at anchor (it will be great to have the ice maker working for those gin and tonics during the summer whilst anchored in secluded bays).
Standard alternators supplied with diesel engines are not really built to supply significant charging to a large battery bank. Balmar is one of the few companies supplying higher capacity alternators particularly suitable to the marine environment. We installed one of their smaller units which meant that it was physically almost a like for like replacement for the old unit.
However there was still quite a lot of rewiring involved to connect up the new smart regulator.
Lithium batteries require a separate Battery Management System (BMS) to ensure the battery does not get over charged or discharged, but specifically this has to be carried out for each cell within the battery rather than measuring overall battery voltage, which would be more common for classic lead acid batteries.
The original BMS which we installed in the summer did indeed protect us from a potential overcharge situation when we arrived at the marina and first connected to shore power. However this demonstrated that we needed more visibility and control over this area than the original “black box” could provide.
After some further research, we found a small start up company in Canada that supplies a BMS giving full visibility of battery health and able to control all of the new equipment which has been installed this year. Changing the BMS has involved some rewiring and retesting of the system to make sure that we are ready for the summer ahead.
Not all jobs have gone to plan, we have been getting a small amount of water seepage through our rudder seals for some time and so they needed changing. After much research it appears that it can be done while the boat is in the water. New seals were ordered and Paul set to work.
Eventually he managed to release the bolts enabling the steering quadrant to be disconnected from the rudder (The hammer came in very useful)
After cleaning away all of the old sealant and removing a small retaining clip we began to pull out what we expected to be the old seals only to discover that our boat doesn’t appear to have been fitted with seals and what we were actually doing was removing the rudder bearing! With water now flowing into the boat faster than we had anticipated we quickly decided to push the bearing back in which stopped most of the water ingress.
At this moment we are discussing our options with as many experienced boaters as we can find. To be continued….