Cruising – fixing your boat in exotic places…

That’s what my friend Vicki reminded me when we had to head back to Kemah.  Now I guess the optimistic side of me would agree that Kemah is exotic compared to a winter’s day in Bristol, but I had somewhere like the Bahamas in mind!  Ah well.

The last two weeks have been eventful.  After spending a day sleeping and relaxing, the task of getting Sol Purpose back in shape started.  The repair of the electronics went very smoothly.  The radar had been spun 90 degrees out of place by a breaking wave and it then slipped down its mount and sliced through some cables that entered the mount.  Moray re-engineered the Questus radar mount so that it would be more difficult to twist out of line.  He hack-sawed the groove that accepts the anti rotation clip so that it was deeper.  This meant that it would be harder to be dislodged.  A damaged GPS NMEA cable was replaced by one from West Marine and was relatively easily installed.  Once that was done, all the other electronics worked as expected.  We have to assume that the wires in the GPS cable were shorting other wires and feeding erroneous NMEA data to the backbone which stopped the depth, wind and flux-gate compass working.  We were elated to find that there was no other damage to the electronics.

I picked up all the items that had been thrown around the boat, and swept up the shattered microwave turntable.  Then I had to launder everything, as slivers of glass had found their way into everything laying in the cabin.  Next I tried to find a replacement turntable, but the microwave was no longer being made.  I found one available online, but .  the cost of the turntable and the shipping was nearly $90.  A quick search found that there was a microwave small enough to fit on the boat, in stock, at our local Best Buy, for $75.  That’s a no-brainer!  So we now have a brand new microwave, more powerful than the old one, with a locking door, so I’m happy!

With that all done, we started checking the weather for a window to head out again.  We planned to set out on Saturday, May 7th and so started to get ready.  Moray decided to check the steering cable, as it had been showing a little sign of wear before we had set out the first time.  It was a very fortunate decision – the cable had worn almost all the way through, and certainly wouldn’t have survived a trip across the Gulf.

steering 002

Now to source a replacement.  By the time we had found the problem and figured out the part we needed, the supplier, Edson, was closed for the weekend.  We resigned ourselves to another week of waiting for parts etc. before we could start work.

We decided to take this as a sign that we should just take a few days to relax and start to enjoy our retirement.  We went to see the new 3D Jungle Book, which was great!  Saturday night, Brad and Clay started the movie night season in the Pavilion.  They had a sail, set up a projector, and we brought a chair, and drinks etc.  This week was, of course, Captain Ron!  Great movie, and it’s made even more interesting as the Wanderer now lives in Waterford Harbor Marina!

On Monday morning, while we were eating breakfast and discussing what we needed to do that day, Moray had a brainwave.  He put in a call to Kevin Hayes of Hayes Rigging, and asked if he would be able to replace the cable for our steering.  Kevin was incredibly helpful and said, the answer was yes, so Moray headed over there and got the new cables.  We spent the next three hours installing the chain and cables, and tweaking it to get it just right.  Then I gave the wheel one last turn and there was a loud clunk.  Inspection showed that one of the links of the chain was broken.  So we started the process of removing the chain and cable.  Now anyone who has ever worked under a sink will appreciate how little room there is for maneuver.  The same is true for working on a boat, and in the limited space one of the cables somehow touched a live post on the wall of the engine room.  There were sparks and a yell from inside the lazarette.  Fortunately, Moray was not badly hurt – a small burn on his hand, and there was no damage to the boat.  Unfortunately, the same was not true for the new cable.  Where it had hit the post, the cable had melted.

Back to Kevin, who replaced the damaged cable, and ground out the damaged link in the chain.  He also mentioned that he thought he had seen a chain at the Boaters’ Resale Store.  By this time it was closed, so we decided to call it a day.  Brad Scott came over when he heard what had happened and we spent a lovely evening riding around the Clear Lake area in his Boston Whaler.  Thanks Brad, for the therapy!

Next morning, we tried to source a spare link, but they were all going to take a long time to arrive.  As soon as it opened, Moray was at the Boaters’ Resale Store, and finally, we caught a break!  The chain they had was exactly the size we needed.  A few hours later, it was installed and working beautifully.  A well-deserved swim in the marina pool, followed by a bottle of wine, and the world was starting to look much better.

Today, I have checked the weather and things are looking good for leaving very soon.  Watch this space!

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