Sunday, December 15, 2013

Boat Projects in Paradise

The winds have been light for the most part of the week we have been in New Zealand and the skies sunny. Rani with her knack for timing, has left this fair land in summer and returned to the darkest days of December to visit British Columbia where she has work lined up at a Pharmacy in Parksville. I will remain on the boat, working through the list of projects (about 40 at this point) and making her ready for a passage next season. I plan to do this work in various bays around the north end of the north island - Bay of Islands, Whangaroa, etc. I Will post pictures and descriptions of what I find.

Projects completed so far include cleaning 4 years of surface rust spots from the 'stainless'steel, taking off the running backstays, which had hairline swage cracks and bringing these in for replacement, a rig inspection (mentioned in an earlier post), removing the cockpit level anchor light and wiring in the mast-head anchor light after putting in a new LED bulb.

The price of 12 volt LED bulbs has fallen dramatically since we left in 2008. Back then I looked at replacing 25 watt anchor lamp with an LED bulb and the cost was $50 (Canadian)! It is now about $13 (Canadian) even in New Zealand where boat bits are expensive on average.

Removing the wiring for the cockpit light that I put in shortly after we bought Ladybug proved to be a chore. When I installed this, I did a very good job of tying off the wire and feeding it neatly through various bulkheads and lockers. This meant I had to remove everything from our 'closet' - the large quarter berth where everything that does not fit in a locker is stored - spinnaker, spare genoa, inflatable kayak, etc. This allowed me to wash off the staysail, which had got salty on the last passage and re-stow various pieces of gear that usually lived under the berth. The wire snaked through the lockers under the quarter berth, then into a book closet and finally through a bulkhead into the area under the cockpit.

In the process of crawling into the lazarette via the cockpit locker - a feat worthy of Houdini because you have to squeeze between the steering column, 2 cockpit drain hoses, and a bulkhead - I noticed the automatic bilge pump hose hanging in mid air. Its end had perished and When I touched it, it crumbled into fragments. I presume this is due to years of exposure to heat from the sun. It is in such an impossibly inaccessible place that it rarely gets looked at. I must have crawled in and out of this space 6 times, broken up by a 1.5 hour rowing trip into the marina area for new hose and a joiner in order to fix this. Thus a one hour long project escalated into a day long ordeal.

I am in Russell today and will do some grocery shopping before heading out to the Bay of Islands.

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