Sunday, 30 June 2013

HARD AT WORK. 30th June

The Fuel filtering system is installed and apparently its working as desired. There is some discoloration in the filter, indicating that it is picking up crud. The pump is a small facet pump which pumps about 60gal per hour in a continuous loop through a 10micron filter in a Racor assembly. We can do each tank independently, as required, when we are not using the gen-set or the main engine. Clean fuel is paramount and we have had our share of fuel woes as have many of our cruising acquaintances and friends. One boat has just returned to Indonesia after attempting a passage to Cocos Keeling and encountering persistent fuel blockages about 400nm south of Sunda Strait. We hope the new system can be deployed regularly to minimize this risk.

Stocked up with filters

We came up onto the hard again on Wednesday, and for a change there was almost no growth. Must be this cold water!  Its about 8 months since our last haul-out for repairs to the keel after an encounter with a reef in Indonesia. The lifter is a 100ton  Ascom and very fancy. It can manage around 9M beam. All the wheels articulate independently providing infinite maneuverability and its the only lifter we have ever seen which lives in a shed. All very easy.

 The anti-foul has been on about 15 months and is due for replacement. So while we wait for the new sail, (which is finished but cant be installed until the new rig components have been installed and until we are back in the water to test sail it,) 

We decided to haul out here at Yachtport SA in Saldahna to do annual maintenance and try to get the wretched new shaft installed.

What a pain its been. Another trip to Cape Town with the shaft to have the last machining done on the inboard end. Taper, key-way etc etc blah blah...and so on. Even with the old shaft and all the components in his possession the machinist still managed to add 5mm to the length.! Why? I thought machining was a precise art. How do you translate 1000ths of an inch to 5 mm?? Lucky we are not the space program. 

We will have to have the cutting face on the rope cutter remade here or take the whole thing back to Cape Town. It will be simpler to do the rope cutter we think. So the new shaft has been in and out about 5 times in the last two days while the captain makes minute changes and detailed checks of all the fitting. Years ago someone decided to try an extra cutlass bearing in the stern tube. Well over the years its very worn and although it was not a problem with the 38mm shaft it was for the new 40mm one. We have had to get this old bearing out. It was almost impossible to get to but luckily the rubber is so old and perished that some persistence with a hammer and big screw driver managed to dislodge it and we now have good clearance there. the new Polyflex flexible coupling has been fitted and seems to be OK. Time will tell.
In Cape Town we went to Sondor Performance Foams (64 Junction St. Parow. ph +27 (0) 21 959 9400. and purchased some 30mm closed cell foam to use for insulation around the two bunks. The forward cabin has been unusable because there is so much condensation from the hulls.
The deck is Airex, so is well insulated but the bed also sits on 400lt of water tanks. It was so cold! Well we put the foam over the tanks and used a hole saw to make holes in the plywood bases to facilitate air flow. I put foam on the hull surfaces beside the bed. We haven't moved back there yet because I still have one side to do but even entering the cabin now the difference is discernible.I also did the aft cabin and happy to report its now snug. Not like sleeping beside a refrigeration plate.

We were hosted by friends in Cape Town and stayed the night. Fabulous food and great company. Helping to reduce the wine lake in South Africa. We got away with a beaut bag of goodies from Trudie and these have been stashed for the journey.
Saldahna's steel mill.

The captain is examining thru hull fittings. These always surface when we come up onto the hard-stand!. Every time we plan to change them but every time we check them and they are as good as new. The new ones in fact don't look as good!
It has almost been all work here but we have been to the Saldanha Yacht Club a few times which is invariably a fun friendly night. Its possible to come home to Taipan now without being breathalyzed and denied entry if you have any alcohol on your reading. The big power at Yachtport SA have parleyed with the Port bureaucracy and it has had the rule lifted for Yachtport SA people. This is big! It was a real pain not knowing if you could get home or not!!

The lighting project in the mast has taken back seat while we are on the hard. It will recommence once we are back in the water as we have now have most of the light fittings required to complete the job.

Our insurers were keen for us to replace a lot of our standing rigging within the coming year too, so that is being done by Trevor Spilhaus of TS Rigging Solutions. (

When we are not flat out...we sit and sip gin!!!