Boat repairs in not-so-exotic places

Pumpkins are everywhere, leaves are turning a matching orange and snow geese are headed south. While nature is preparing to hibernate, we’re finally getting to work on the boat. M (Water Music’s nickname if you didn’t already know) has patiently waited for us to get her shipshape again and after all these months it was so nice to spend time onboard.

The « to do » list is four pages long: some items small, some items large, some required, some nice-to-have. It will no doubt be extended by all those “while we’re at it” type of projects and the “oh look what I just found” issues. Nonetheless, the preparation for the next trip is started and it’s very exciting.

The radar arch is in place. We now need to transfer the solar panels, reinstall the wind generator, run wires for the spare VHF and GPS antennas and decide what to do with the radar.

The new radar arch installation is already crossed off. Without a mast or a boom to help raise it in place it was serious work, but between the two of us we came up with a few smart ideas and got it done. We’ll put a separate post together about this project when we’re done transferring the equipment.

Replacing the solar charge controller was not on the list, but we started suspecting something was wrong with it last winter. Our suspicions were confirmed when it stopped charging the batteries, only floating them at a whopping 0,1Amp. While we are not looking forward to hauling 500 pounds of batteries out of the port lazarette (that’s on the list), we were actually pleased that the faulty controller decided to act up now, while the tired batteries were still in place. Six months from now, with a brand new house bank in place, it could have caused some costly damage.

Some of the thru hulls refused to cooperate, they had to be taken down forcefully.

Another project that will deserve its own post on the blog is the replacement of the thru hulls. As of last Thursday, they are all removed (eleven in total). We’ll install the new ones in the spring when the temperature is more appropriate to curing epoxy resin.

Smaller task are not always the least stressful. When an engine is in prolonged storage, it is good practice to run it once in a while to lubricate the cylinders and prevent internal corrosion. The day was cold, the engine hadn’t run in 16 months and the batteries were low; odds were not on our side for a smooth start up. We were expecting a lot of huffing and puffing from the diesel engine and avoided thinking about the finicky Fischer Panda genset altogether. So, we got a few gallons of -100°F antifreeze to feed the water intake, turned the key, held our breath and voilà: M’s diesel engine was purring like a kitten (a large one that is) with absolutely no hesitation and no nasty cloud of smoke. Even the generator got going without a fuss. We suspect M was trying to make it clear she wanted to get back in the water and go somewhere.

That’s when we told her about our plan for the next trip. We had to warn her though: there would be no bikinis and no white sandy beaches this time around, only thermal underwear and deep fjords. If we can’t make it to Scotland or Norway just yet, Newfoundland will do just fine.

Michel discovered a family of frogs living under the dinghy, he got quite a concert from the panicked amphibians. We are happy to report that they are all accounted for and comfortably back under the inflatable for the winter.