Boom and gas operations

by Glen

Fri 28 May, HHN day 45: Outer end of boom fitted and template made for spray protection at front of boom. Then fit new gas solenoid safety valve.

Last evening I had shone a torch into the boom end to admire all the mouse lines neatly inside. When, to my horror, I could see a twist in the lines going to the sheave carriage. It was getting dark and pointless to start trying to sort it out, but it still took all my inner persuasion to go back into the boat and leave the job for today.

Very glad that I did too, because it turned out to be quite an operation. I found not just 1 twist in the lines, but 2. How on earth did I manage that? I thought I’d been so careful with the mouse-lines. Luckily, I hadn’t yet bolted the boom end fitting onto the boom. Even so, I ended up with quite a bird’s nest.
I often ask myself at times like this: “Seriously? In this day and age we still sail with rope and string holding everything together, just like they did 5 centuries ago? When is someone going to invent something to make rope redundant, so we can avoid unwanted knots, twists, rope burns and bird’s nests?”

Eventually, using some blue language, the mouse lines march to my tune all neat and not twisted.
Just 8 bolts now and the end is back on the boom for the last time. But do you think I could get the bolt holes to line up? It was clearly one of those morning where I was swimming against a tide. Of course, finally I won, but not without it taking over 2 hours. There is no simple job on a boat…

The weather is lovely and cool today so I decide to stay outside, and on the boom. At the goose neck end, on the underside, the boom is completely open to the weather. And more particularly to spray coming from the bow when sailing. I’m convinced this is the reason why this end of the outhaul piston was so corroded compared to further in the boom, where it was still like new.
So I intend to make a simple plastic cover-plate to stop salt spray from getting inside. Or at least, drastically reducing it. This morning I start by making a template out of cardboard, then cut out Mark-I attempt, using a ¼” fiber board that I had collected from some place. After several modifications it was just starting to look good when the heavens opened and I beat a hasty retreat back inside the boat along with my tools. And it has rained non-stop since then.

Next, and last job of the day, is to replace the broken gas safety solenoid valve in the gas locker. Hallberg-Rassy Parts have sent me a new one. This valve can be operated from the galley, turning on/off the gas in the gas locker. We always turn this valve off whenever we are not using the cooker. Being one of the first cooler days inside the tent, it’s an ideal time to get this job done without me being roasted in the greenhouse.

I already removed the last broken valve, but left the wire so that I could follow it inside the boat, where it disappears into a large wiring loom. As I cut tie-wraps to trace it, cables cascade down onto me behind the navstation panel. Finally, I find the connection, which I cut then reconnect to the new solenoid valve. I think it took me longer to get all the cables back into the conduits than it did to make the valve connection!

Back outside, in the gas locker, I decide to cut back the brass gas pipe and renew the swage fitting. At the same time, I am tempted to get stuck into beautifying the gas locker itself, which is pretty grubby. But for once I resist my side-track temptations and simply give it a good wash.
One thing I could never quite understand regarding the gas locker: Why is designed NOT to be sealed around the lid? This means all water coming down the side decks enters the gas locker, cascading down over the gas fittings, quickly corroding them. Why is it not in the design to seal the lid, like any other locker? Is it because it should have continual air flow to allow any gas leak to go safely out the lower drain hole?
Whatever, I’m a bit fed up with continually replacing gas regulators and other fittings which are certainly not designed to operate with seawater pouring over them.

In the evening I do some more laundry. I and our Candy washing machine have really made friends this trip. Oana and I were always reluctant to use it too much previously. Because a) it only does small loads and b) it used water and 220VAC. Oh, and the pump-out function does not work on 60Hz shore power, like in the USA.
Well, when I flushed antifreeze through it last fall, I discovered that it easily runs on the inverter (50Hz) and uses a lot of electricity only when put on a very hot wash (power needed to heat the water). So when I want to wash, I simply unplug the shore power, turn on the inverter and away we go. As for water, no problem. I have plenty of it. And the grey gravel outside could do with a little grey water on it!

That was my day. Busy all day with these small maintenance items and it seems that’s the way it will be from now on. Lots of little loose ends to tie up to finalise other maintenance.

Memorial long weekend starting here in USA. I feel sorry for the working population. The weather has been so beautiful this last week, but for this holiday weekend it looks like cold and rain all the way through to Tuesday. Well, it could be worse I guess, they could be retired… Then there are no long weekends or even one day off per week! 😊

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