Monday, September 23, 2013

Delays, delays, delays

Posted by Scot

After our initial burst of activity getting boat projects done, we seem to stuck in some kind of molasses, making everything impossible to move forward with.  Today has been especially frustrating.

The biggest thing preventing us from going anywhere substantial on the boat is a shudder in the starboard engine that seems to have something to do with the dampening plates.  Not sure exactly what those are, but we are supposed to be having an engine guy come to look at it today.  He was supposed to be here at 9, but it is now 1:15, and he is still not here yet due to car trouble (should I be worried that our engine guy is delayed because his car won't start?).

So, in the meantime, I have been working on other things, but I have run up against multiple hurdles that I can't really get over.  Tried to remove the windlass motor to help install the new one - it seems you have to take apart the whole windlass to get at the bolts holding the motor in, which is a bigger project than I am comfortable doing myself at this point.

Windlass motor partly dismantled.

So, instead, I started to take apart the winches to see if I could grease and oil them.  However, the first one is corroded together, and I couldn't even get as far as getting the top cap off (I just barely managed to undo the screw holding it on).  So, then, I went to replace some of our corroded electrical outlets, and it turns out they are some weird South African "snap-in" type of outlets, that won't mate easily with North American ones.  Not sure if I can buy those here or not, but of course Sara is out with the car, and I am waiting for the engine guy, so I can't really go check (although I don't seem to be able to find them online).

Corroded snap-in outlet.  Does anyone know where to buy these?
Anyway, that is just a sample - all the projects seem to be going like that.  Can't find a replacement bracket for the horseshoe buoy, so we may need to epoxy the holes and start with a new one.  Home Depot has a great deal on replacement speakers for the blown ones on the bow of the boat, but they don't have them in stock, and will only get them if I order them online.  But I can't order them online with a Canadian credit card.

Speaker wire, waiting for new speakers to arrive.  OK, this one is kind of a luxury, I admit.  But it was already wired!
And on and on it goes.  Hopefully if we keep at it, we will figure out a way to get some of these things done.  Although I suspect we may just lower the bar on a lot of these projects, and leave without them being done.  We'll have to see.

Addendum: Eventually Zak, then engine guy did show up, and it turns out he was probably the nicest diesel mechanic you could hope to meet.  Looked like a biker with a shaved head and big bushy beard, but soft-spoken, pleasant, and efficient.  I liked him right away.  He totally impressed me by squeezing his whole body into our tiny engine compartment, and immediately getting to work.  Before long, he was dripping with sweat, in a tiny space in the sweltering Florida sun.  I was worried he was going to pass out from heat stroke, but he assured me working in hot engine rooms is part of the diesel mechanic's lot in life.  I was uncomfortable just watching him, but between him and the engine, there wasn't a spare bit of room, so I couldn't really help other than to bring him a cold bottle of water and fetch the occasional tool for him.

Between Zak, God and our Volvo engine, there wasn't any room left for me to get in and help out.
It wasn't long before he had the engine disconnected from the saildrive.  He then undid the engine mounts, and shifted the whole engine back several inches under his own steam, which was totally amazing.  When Rafael mentioned that we might have to do that, he talked about using the topping lift and a winch to lift the engine.  Zak just did it with pure power.

Not long after that, he had the dampening plate out, and sure enough, the rubber pucks that dampen the engine motion as it is transferred to the saildrive were all eaten away.  So, now we wait for a replacement part before we can get the boat moving.  But at least we got that project started, and some progress was made today.

And, oh yeah, I also replaced a CO detector, and got the dinghy running, and took it out for a spin.  20 horses on that boat makes it a bit scary, but we should be able to plane with the whole family on board.  So the day turned out to be reasonably productive after all.

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