Tuesday 5 February, St.Maarten day 8: Getting things done: finish the vang installation, start Boricol on decks, install switch for deck light, and valve on aft toilet.
At 8:30 Rob, from Ineffable, arrives on his dinghy to help with the vang. I show him around Cloudy Bay, give him a nice coffee, then get him to work! Easy job though, all he has to do is pump the vang hydraulic lever in the cockpit while I bleed the air out the line and re-attach it to the vang. We cycle the vang a couple of times fully-in, fully-out, then secure the upper fitting on the boom. Once hydraulic pressure is released the boom raises. Good, this means they have put enough nitrogen pressure in there. (One side of the piston is nitrogen pressure at 600psi which lifts the boom. While the other side of the piston is hydraulic pressure that pulls it down). So far, no oil leaks. But the real test will be sailing off-wind in big seas, where there are huge forces on the vang.
Rob is a very pleasant guy. He is my age but looks more like 40…. like me :). He has grownup kids too. He owns a catamaran based in Lankawi, Malaysia and really knows all the Asian cruising ground. When Oana returns we will have to get the Asia map out and download information from him. He leaves back to Ineffable with 30 liters of water, as their watermaker is not working. (like their windlass, wind instruments and several other items I would call vital to have an easy life on board!).
I then go ashore with long list of things to do. FKG to pay their bill and pick up the Furlex cover plates which were there to remove the rusted old seals. Then NorthSails to put up a For Sale advert for our asymmetric spinnaker. Then Titan to pick up the new capacitor for water maker, but it has not come in yet. Then Budget Marine where I stock up on various small items we are running low on… hose clamps, split pins, sikaflex and a long list of other bits and pieces.
One interesting buy is a fishing harness ready for the big game! We saw a you tube video where a guy was fighting a huge tuna. He had one of these waist harnesses where the end of the rod slots into a cup on the waist belt, so you can get real leverage when reeling-in. It looks more like something you’d buy from the kinky section of a sex shop! … but I wouldn’t know that :). Lookout yellow-fin tuna, here we come!
Back on Cloudy Bay in the late afternoon I refit the Furlex cover plates on the genoa and cutter hydraulic motors. These seal replacements was a long outstanding job. It took us 5 months to get the part number from Selden and another 2 months to order and deliver. And even with the seals in hand, fitting them required a machine shop to remove the old ones. Oooph, nothing is simple on boats!
I then decide to start the boring job of putting Boricol on the raw teak decks. I’ve noticed some ugly black spots forming on the wood. These are organic growth, a bit like mildew. Boricol is a very dilute wood preserver. Very cheap if you buy it from a hardware store, ridiculously expensive from a marine store! So I had bought 5 gallons of the stuff in Gibraltar, which should last 5 years. Last time we applied it was about a year ago. It should kill this organic growth and also leave the teak that lovely bleached white color. I just hope it doesn’t rain in the next 24 hours and wash it off before it has chance to soak in and do its stuff. By dark I’ve managed to get about 1/3 the decks done.
Then it’s off to get some food shopping. I’m told the local supermarket here is expensive but I only need a few items so I’m not going all the way to Super-U on the French side which has “normal” prices. Well, my few things became a full shopping bag with a bill of over $100! Wow, yes, it is expensive here.
In the evening it’s extremely humid and sticky here in the lagoon. It’s almost the worst time of day. You have a shower and you are fresh again for only 30 minutes before that clammy sweat returns. It finally cools off comfortably by bed time.
But while sticky I might as well do more things on the list and actually justify sweating 🙂 I’ve bought a small switch for our deck light. The deck light (mounted on the front of the mast) is all wired into the EmpirBus OK but strangely there is no on-off switch for it anywhere – at least, none that I’ve found in 3 years of looking. So unless I turn off the EmpirBus circuit, the light is permanently on. Adding a simple switch is needed. After an hour of pulling cupboards apart, wiring-in and installing the switch I sit back pleased with my work. The switch is neatly hidden in the top of a cupboard out of sight.
Then I try to test it. After enabling the circuit on the EmpirBus I flip the switch and…. no light appears on the mast 🙁 Hmmm. Investigation shows that there is no 24vdc coming out of the EmpirBus for that circuit. And whatever resetting I do, I can’t get the 24vdc back again. Strange, because previously the 24vdc was permanently there, and now it’s permanently not there! Classic bummer eh? I’ll have to think about this one. Maybe the EmpirBus PCB (printed circuit board) is playing games again.
Fed up with electrical jobs, I turn to water. The small valve that isolates the aft toilet from the freshwater supply is not closing fully and needs replacing. This valve is only used if you want to work on the toilet flush without turning off the water for the entire boat. So I get it removed, plug the bare pipe and have it ready to get a replacement valve tomorrow. It looks like it would have never worked even from new, because the sealant HR uses for these fitting had entered the valve and damaged it.
Finally a nice shower then to bed before I get sticky again. It’s still a bit odd going to bed on my own, no one to kiss good night. Oh-hum, just 2 more weeks.