It’s amazing how time flies! IT’s been quite a while since my last post, suggesting another week to get the bearings for the transmission box.
Well, it didn’t go that smooth, does it ever?
It turned out that the bearing shop in Papeete didn’t have this small, quite standard looking needle bearing in stock. Worse though, neither did their supplier in France! So when our helpful cruising friend came back it was with rather discouraging news for us. By now, I got half desperate on this issue and sent an e-mail to the manufacturer ZF (who merged with, or bought, Hurth some years ago)and asked where I could get these little masterpieces from. They provided the contact info to a distributor in the UK, who has been very friendly and helpful over a mlnth or slightly more. He cheerfully told me right away that he didn’t have them on stock (sounds familiar?) but would have them delivered in a fortnight.From Italy(!) where the transimssions are manufactured. Great. I sat back, enjoyed a drink celebrating another problem solved. About two weeks later, e-mailing him again he apologized for me misunderstanding him….of course it was two weeks from Italy to the UK, not as I
somewhat optimistically assumed from Italy to me in Mangareva. And well, it took more than two weeks to the UK, but when I am writing this, they are well underway to us via this route. UK to France to Tahiti to Mangareva. Only one flight a week to Mangareva so I could maybe have some hope to find them waiting in the post office here tomorrow. Saw the aviation take ground a few moments ago. No drink in premature celebration yet. I learnt that one.
Will post the outcome of this in due time.
We’ve had a bad spell with mechanical and technical ‘stuff’ lately.
First back in Ecuador, where my vintage Thinkpad laptop and dedicated navigation computer died. Nothing remarkable about that. Our friends on svBRAVO had friends flying in from the US about a week before we were to take off on the passage and were nice enough to bring a netbook that I am typing these lines on together with a Kindle for Isabelle (I’ve got one already) and some other small toys.
Then the armed robbery in Colombia where Isabelle lost her computer (including the first few – not backed-up – chapters of her just started novel)together with my old, bit still fairly good camera.
Then, due to a missing driver to the Pactor modem for Win7 (the Thinkpad XP) we were never able during the 6 week passage to get weather info via the Pactor and the HAM rig. A mere nuisance but slightly annoying nevertheless.
During the passage both(!) chargers (nice with a back-up right?) for AA and AAA batteries died within a few days.
When we had arrived here I discovered that my almost new, and very nice, camera doesn’t work. Great, the nearest camera repair facility could be in Papeete, or else in New Zeeland.
Next in turn the transmission. Then the outboard for our dinghy. Didn’t run very well and after a few weeks I finally pulled myself together and took the little thing apart. Sure, as expected there was plenty of cleaning out old varnished two-stroke fuel. I hate to work with gasoline engines since it stinks. I wear contact lenses and nothing does away with them as fast as those fuel vapaours. Would be acetone then… Anyway, it turned out that the little jet in the carburator was corroded/worn or both and in short non functional. About a centimeter long and 4mm wide. It doesn’t take much… as the saying goes. New one ordered, and waiting.
A couple of days ago I got this idea of checking the standing rigging. Again. I did a few days after we arrived here since I believe it a healthy practice to do so after every passage made. This time I must have had barbed wire for berakfast, or too strong coffee, ’cause I armed myself with a strong magnifying glass and a piece of fine wetsanding paper and went about in pursuit of crevice corrosion, hairline cracks and other little early signs of metal fatigue. Stainless steel is nasty in the aspect that it doesn’t really show how bas it is until it could be too late. As in having a shroud or a swage fitting just crack without advance notice. BAd behaviour in short. This is what I’ve read and heard, since on all boats I’ve owned back in Sweden (about 6 or 7, incidentally a number similar to my longer relations with women, but I won’t talk any more about that)In the Baltic Sea, perhaps the most beautiful cruising ground on the planet (still searching for alternatives)the water
is brackish, a healthy amount of rainfall rinses the rigging and it’s not that warm, the later being the main reason why I left it in the first place, thus 30-40 year old rigging is rarely questioned and failures seldom heard of.
Not so in salt seas, warm weather and little rainfall. In short those places we like to be, and the ones we dreamed of sailing to all those years in the wonderful Baltic.
Anyway, back to the rigging check-up, Yours truly, Sherlock Holmes-outfitted, went about this mission very seriously and sadly I did find a developing hairline crack on the aftstay. The lower swage fitting on top of the turnbuckle. Can’t see it with my bare eyes, but admittedly they aren’t what they once were in terms of focusing ability. In the magnifying glass, I tell you, everything looks scary. The glossy, shiny stainless surface turns into a miniature moon-scape of tiny craters, marks after tools and so on. So does the brand new pieces. This means one has to get used to this macro-percpective of the hardware. Scratches, marks after swaging tools and machining the pieces has to be recognized and thrown aside as harmless. Then, once you’ll find a hairline crack or a developing stress ‘fracture’ you’ll never have to ask some rigger for advice or wonder if it’s bad or not. It is bad. Obviously it wouldn’t break tomorrow or on the next sail, but it will sooner or later and th
e thought of the aft stay parting at sea, on a run, causing the then unsupported mast to quite slowly and majestically fall over could make anyone question going cruising again. So, in short, it’s got to be replaced.
Fortunately, upon some ‘bilgediving’ I found not only toggles and rigbolts galore, but a spare turn-buckle, practically enough almost twice as long as the one now in use. With this and the Norseman fitting I knew I had I could cut the swage fitting away with a few inches of the shroud on top of it and then simply get the Norseman threaded on and the new turn-buckle and Voil’a! Another few thousand miles.
Easy, easy, it never quite turn out as expected as anyone who’s been following this blog know by now. When I had dug that Norseman ( a wire terminal that needs no special tools to fit)that was on the boat already when we bought her…..was the wrong size! ‘Rideau’!
Excuse me Mr Previous Owner, but this one is for you: Why on earth did you store 2 of these fittings for that lenght of spare wire cable when they can’t be used? Guess you, like me, never really checked. We all make mistakes.
Fact is; those 2 fittings are 7 mm. All stays and shrouds on the boat are 8 mm(5/16”) except the inner forestay which is 6mm.
Anyone who are still reading, if you need a couple of 7mm Norseman, e-mail your address and I’ll mail them. They’ll never be of any use onboard NANNA unless we downsize the rigging to 7mm the next time. Not likely to happen.
An hour ago I ordered 2 Norseman from the rigger in Raiatea, Isles Soci’etes, FrPol.
Do I sound a bit grumpy? No, heck no! Life is great, most of the time and when it’s not it’s interesting. Problems are to be solved.
Last night was clear, crispy clear unlike most nights in the tropics. The waxing moon, the Milky Way and all the stars with the Southern Cross right on top of the starboard spreader on NANNA, a Southern Cross 35′ Cutter.
Beautiful, magic and magnificent. I stood in the cockpit for a while then went to bed and slept deep, in peace with the world and myself and woke up at early dawn to gratefully fathom a New Day in Paradise.