Side tracked by the anchor chain locker

by Glen

Thu 3 Jun, HHN day 51: Cleaned bow anchor chain locker ready for painting, and made a chain diverter. Installed mouse-lines into mast electric conduits.

Slow day today. It promised to be cloudy all day, then rain. Cloudy is good because the green-house effect on the shrink wrap tent is much reduced. The weather forecast and heat inside and outside usually determine what I get up to each day.

One good thing about being Captain Glen is that any activity can happen at any time. As Forest Gump so perfectly stated: “Life is like a box of chocolates…” Over breakfast, I usually debate what to do that day. There is one list of what I should do, and there is another of what I fancy doing at that moment, while eating that particular cornflake. And the next cornflake I’ll usually have a different whim!
This morning I’m firmly on the whim list, not the excel list!

After my fun beautifying the gas locker, I decide to have a similar session on the anchor locker. I justify my plan on the basis that I should now only being starting jobs which I can be sure to finish by Saturday. The idea was to simply get into the anchor chain locker and slap some Interprotect 2000 around and be done with it. But as usual, I delude myself. There is no slap-dash on Cloudy Bay.

It is a very deep locker. When I stand on the bottom, my chin is just about at deck level. I even take my phone up to the bow with me, just in case I cannot get out! It all looks pretty clean and dry inside, so I descend in there with my Dyson (No Oana, MY Dyson, not yours!) and clean out the rusty dust in the bottom. While in there, I realise that a quick vacuum isn’t going to cut it. It should at least have a good scrub clean before paint.

15 minutes later, I’m back in the locker with hose, washing up liquid and scouring pad, and in my birthday suit! Sorry if that gave you an unpleasant image, but it was obvious I was going to get soaking wet from head to toe, so I might as well consider it my shower for the day!
Once finished, I need to let it dry. And while the anchor chain locker is drying, I remember a modification that I had wanted to do.

Currently, the hawes pipe from the windlass simply enters the anchor chain locker at the top of the aft bulkhead, allowing the chain to drop vertically down the face of the bulkhead. Which is fine. But sometimes, usually when we anchor in deep water, the chain ends up piling up the bulkhead and either jams in the hawes pipe or the ½ pyramid falls over, so that when we next anchor the chain gets trapped under the collapsed pile.

The answer is to extend the hawes pipe away from the bulkhead by about 10cm, to allow it to build a proper Egyptian-like pyramid which doesn’t fall over. I don’t want to extend the pipe itself, because it may even exacerbate the chain jamming in to. So I decide to extend with a ½ pipe.
After a scavenge in the yard dumpsters, I soon have the perfect piece of plastic pipe and I start beavering away with my jig-saw, creating my Mark-I chain diverter. This is then epoxied in place in the chain locker. I’m not sure how long it will last, but for a Mark-I I am quite pleased with it.
Tomorrow the locker will get its paint… only 24 hours after the envisioned “just slap some paint on”. Not a bad delay, for me!

Mid-afternoon the day is hot and humid. Inside is unbearable. So I head outside to the mast for the last job I will do on it this maintenance session. I have received from Amazon 500ft of military spec “Para-cord”.
This parachute cord was recommended to me by Stephen, our rigger, to use where I want permanent mouse-lines installed. Permanent meaning they will be inside the mast all the time, ready to use when/if need be. This permanence also means the ends will be exposed to sunlight and UV. For this purpose, Para-cord is apparently a very economic substitute for thin dyneema line, which is also good with UV. I install one length of Para-cord into each electrical conduit, and one in the halyard section.

I finished the job and the covers are put back onto the mast just as the sky darkens and the predicted thunderstorm arrives over-head.
The rest of my day is on deck and inside, starting to tidy tools away and get some order back into the boat, ready for my departure.
And when at 8pm it is still 29 degC inside and I have my 3rd cold shower of the day, then I finally submit to the heat and fire up the air-conditioner to write the blog in comfort. What a relief!

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