Boating & Biking Adventures

Category: Technical Page 1 of 5

The Fridge Saga

Our Fridge/Freezer unit stopped cooling again three weeks back and I had to take it positive (less power consumption) in order not to cry. I was prepared to cross the Atlantic with one unit left only rather spending time to find another mechanic.

Over a smalltalk with our neighbouring yacht I knew they were looking for an AC mechanic as he was totally without fridge on his boat.

Suddenly they turned up at our boat asking, if we still want to get it checked and after a short discussion, I decided to give it a go and hope for the miracle needed.

Cesar, the AC Specialist and Biking Hero applied a technic I have not heard off. After an initial check he concluded: leakage in the system. “Leaksavers” is the solution.

Method 2 of above product has got an 80% chance that the leakage is now fixed, potentially long term. Cross fingers.🤞

Besides that Cesar gave me insider tips on the local biking scene, Cesar is another pleasant, polite & professional person we have met here in Bermuda.

Fair winds…

Boat Work Program

Boat work was lacking recently and I have chosen the anchorage here in Portsmouth to catch up a bit on the same. Glad we do not have any major repair or maintenance items on the T0-Do-List rather plenty of small things to fix, maintain or improve.

It already started yesterday, when I volunteered to spend an hour in the water at 26.3℃ (!) to clean the waterline from algae. Starboard side is done, Portside to follow. Next will be the propeller, some seacocks and then finally the bow thruster, which is the biggest job. Besides removing the biotope in the funnel I have to replace the anodes as well. Overall the antifouling gives a good impression and shall last until autumn. Nevertheless I would next time apply four layers instead of two going on a longer journey in warmer climate.

Portside waterline still to be done...
Funnel to be cleaned and anodes replaced...

I am a bit suspicious about the starting process of the generator. My seventh sense tells me that it takes two to three crank turns now before it starts while two weeks back it came on the first turn.  Took the noise insulation hood off and did a general inspection. All found in order, so this item needs to remain on the monitoring list. Perhaps nothing to worry about but after a while on a boat you develop an incredible sensitivity against noise and smell as any of the two can be an early indication of trouble. Cross fingers.

A very strange item on the list was the broken lid of the aircon strainer. It is directly mounted on a seacock and therefore sits below the water line. I was shocked when I discovered it a few weeks back especially as I normally keep seacocks in open position. In this case, I closed it immediately and did not even dare to touch it until this morning. After replacing it, the aircon got a flush while the generator was humming anyway.  The light bright spot in the middle of the right photo gives you a view through the hull down to the bottom of the sea.

...broken lid of the aircon strainer...
...lid replaced, glad I had a spare one...

It remains a bit of a miracle how this lid can burst. Excluding mechanical force it can only be temperature or age or perhaps a combination of the two. During our recent long motor sail from St. Vincent back to Martinique we got quite high temperature in the engine room, more than usual and that could have contributed to the cracks.

Soon I will replace the plastic version with the bronze version for peace of mind going forward. I rather lose the visibility into the filter unit but have a solid metal lid installed.

Tomorrow is another day (Monday!) to proceed with the works!

Fair winds…

⚓️…mooring detail…🧐

The mooring set-up in this bay is a bit weird. There are areas nominated, which are not all clear and some of them not suitable for yachties to anchor.

Yesterday afternoon, one of the areas got cleared by the officials and half a dozen of boats had to move out. We were lucky and could stay in our place. Based upon the underwater mooring block next to our anchor I concluded for myself, what is allowed and which area shall be kept free from anchoring yachts. The discussion around “makes sense or not” can become an endless argument. Clear on the set-up is, that nothing is clear and specific websites do not bring more clarity either.

Keeping mooring buoys under water like the one next to our anchor is a no brainer and more than questionable practice.

Next time we come here, we will dive for the mooring buoys to be sure we are within the correct space.

Fair winds…

…running low energy…

Our sailing day became as dramatic as the cloud looks like covering La Soufrière, at the northern tip of St. Vincent, an active Volcano since April 2021. It appears to me that St. Vincent is a very interesting island to keep on the list for the future.

It was clear that all the way up North was clause hauled sailing against the north easterly trade winds but the cape effects at the northern tip of the islands can add another challenge. The waves are rolling in from the Atlantic at times straight onto the nose. Hitting these relative steep waves at 25 to 30kn wind gave the lady a good wash all over. Some squalls added a bit of an extra topping and we felt everything against us on this passage. 

On the other side, we motored along the shorelines of the islands as close as possible. Therefore the engine was running for some hours charging the battery bank constantly.

Pitons @ St. Lucia South under engine
Cruise ship @ St. Lucia North under engine

Watching the batteries closely, one of the four service batteries reached cooking stage with the other three being at higher than usual temperatures. We also had acid smell inside the boat. I called Christian from Gesang Yacht Elektronik and we got the plan of action confirmed. Disconnect and control the load into the remaining batteries.

Tested in Oct. 2021. Excellent conditions.🧐

I have learned in the meantime, that the way the test on the batteries was conducted by a certified Volvo dealer might have given a misleading picture on the real SOH (Status of Health).

As we still needed the engine and the Volvo charger is not smart at all, we had to control the battery charge load through consumers. While sailing, – minimise consumers, while motoring – maximise consumers, to prevent further batteries to heat up. Sailing into the night required to adapt the settings as we need more energy at darkness. Totally pathetic but worked.

We arrived around 10pm at our anchorage in Saint-Anne on Martinique, just in time when another squall released its fierce force on us. We accepted by now, it can only get better. With a hefty grip, the anchor did bite into the sandy ground and after a short while we felt first relief after quite some hours of excitement.

We cleared the mess trying to catch some sleep. It became a short night. Susan had to work 3am in the morning and managed very well.

After all, one more time I feel, that my nose smashed finally into the cream!

We were planning to meet Cornelia and Volker from SY Hexe, very good sailing mates from Puerto Calero/Lanzarote. Our anchor dropped just behind their stern!

With great help and little push from Volker (I was still energy low) we picked up new batteries from Yachting Engineering Services, one of the shops you can reach by dinghy. 

The new battery bank was installed by 1pm and put on generator loading.
What a final relief. Thank you Volker!

After a nice get together dinner on SY Hexe, we had an early night to catch up on some quality sleep.

St. Vincent – TO Base

Rosi and the boat boys, well organised.
Keartons Bay and the Rock-Side-Cafe.

We have left the Grenadines against our plan as we need to fix a technical issue on the boat. Return is open at the moment.

In short, our service battery bank has aged quickly over the last couple of weeks and we are now at 12.0V only at 95% SOC (state of charge). This is despite the fact, that they have been declared in Puerto Calero three month back to achieve a 95% SOH (state of health). They are now under ICU management to prevent total breakdown before having new ones at hand.

We are heading back to Martinique to get them replaced. This gives us the great opportunity to visit the TO Base on St. Vincent Island. It is run by Rosi and her husband Orlando. A special arrangement in a very small and picturesque bay with very few mooring buoys, sunset dinner, rubbish disposal, immigration service. We opted for all of it! Pick-up for dinner is at 6pm sharp. Fish or Chicken? We pre-ordered one each and are now hungry after another pleasant sailing day in moderate trade winds.

Fair winds…

Susan on the way to the immigration.
Open only during overtime hours.🤑

👍…back online…😅

Glad our issue got resolved through live chat with great professionalism of IONOS Support Team.

Arriving was yesterday…

We have been back in the marina for the last two nights  to do some scheduled maintenance on rigg, fridge/freezer and generator. In other words, the lady got an all inclusive package for some beauty treatment. It turned out to become time very well invested.

The operation at the open heart of the generator – capacitor replacement – worked out well and ended with a full load test yesterday at 6.5kw while water maker, aircon, kettle, microwave, vacuum cleaner, etc. all switched on subsequently to push power requirements to its peak.

Finally it looks like, we also got a competent person to fix our fridge/freezer issue, which already started in Puerto Calero at the time leaving Lanzarote. It is between mystic and science – seawater temperature and condensation, but I was 100% convinced: the system is drawing too many Ah.

The two units were running by far too often, draining our battery bank. Energy, we were hardly able to compensate for through our solar panels and  the SailingGen, which has been my concept from the beginning. Initial measurements are promising.

As a routine work we also got a rigg inspection performed after 30oonm sailed from Lanzarote to Martinique. It is a good feeling when a professional third party confirms no issues, all in mint conditions. 

One of the last items on the list was grocery shopping. We found out that Leader Price – one of the local supermarkets – has a good selection of products for our needs. The beauty is, that they have their own “dinghy dock”, which makes food stocking convenient in terms of logistics. Lovely!

Tomorrow morning we will be leaving our anchorage here at Saint-Anne heading south, bound for Grenada. Arriving in the Caribbean was yesterday. Another chapter to follow.

Fair winds…

Yoga for the Panda

I have finished my yoga in the engine room for the day. The Fischer-Panda generator is cleaned and all salty remains from the recent water leakage of the sea-water-pump removed.
The issue on the water maker, high pressure pump tripping, is caused by the generator loosing its AC power at 2.5kW. We suspect either the capacitors or the rev servo motor to be the ultimate root cause.
Fair winds…

Lanzarote to Cabo Verde – Day 9 / Logblog 6

We have just now sailed 800nm without taking the mainsail out once and only flying the 110% foresail. It got sometimes fully deployed, sometimes partly reefed and sometimes not even unfurled. With or without spinnaker pole.
This gave me some food for thought on sail arrangements and after a long and heated discussion with the lady we concluded the following concerning the mainsail.

The mainsail is good for two purposes:

#1. Obviously you cannot take the lady out on a catwalk without having mainsail out. Imagine, sailing the parade alongside many other boats, whereever in the world, and no mainsail out. The yacht will only look complete and attractive under full set of sails. No doubt.

#2. The mainsail is also needed, from a technical point of view, if the skipper wants to bang his head against the wall. In other words, the skipper wants, or has to, sail against the wind. Technically you will need some mainsail out to make that work properly.

In all other circumstances the mainsail remains a nice to have, which brings minium speed advantage but plenty of headache. The mainsail can become a huge risk under certain broad reach courses, especially with increasing wind angls in windy and wavy conditions. Numerous times this was the reported root cause of serious injuries or even death in worst case or best case de-masted yachts desperately crying for help. Some had preventer lines some maybe not.

I had my own experience around 2005 when Susan and myself approached Hasle in Denmark on our beautiful HR34 at that time. We did the unintentional gybe and I found my glasses next to me on the cockpit bench and cannot recall how they got there. The only thing I remember is that the boom did not bang my head as in this case I would probably not be sitting here typing these lines. Perpaps I did defend my head against the boom with my hands and by doing so the glasses flew off. I cannot recall the exact circumstances but understood at that time, that I was lucky.

Sometimes speed could be a good reason and the extra knot you would get from the mainsail might bring you into the marina before the storm kicks in or it´s getting dark but passage planning can partly compensate for that. Perhaps not in each and any case but it´s worth a consideration.

I am sure this subject can be debated further but personally I feel much more relaxed keeping the main furled into the mast even though I arrive a bit later at my destination.

We will need to decide on our sail configuration for the upcoming crossing of the Atlantic towards the Caribbean.

Fair winds…

…bits and pieces…

The final bits and pieces are falling together but we still have some items on the To-To-List, nothing critical though.
The fridge is running properly again without touching the new one, which arrived from HR Parts today. Conclusion: We now carry a spare fridge compressor on board.
The gas bottle compartment got a clean-up as one of the open exemplary tasks, which was overdue.

Recent progress allowed the opportunity today to jump  onto the bike to Arrecife. Main purpose was to get some delrin shims for the gooseneck manufactured. Ulli from SY Christina gave me the right contact, a one man workshop hidden behind  a door – no signs at all.

The shims got completed on the spot, which left time for a drink and catch-up with Ulrike & Nelly at Strava Restaurant in Arrecife downtown.
The backwinds then helped me on the ride back to Puerto Calero along the coastline – definitely one of my favourite stretches on the island.

More bits and pieces left for tomorrow. 

Fair winds…

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