March, 2004 (updated April 10, 2004)
During Fiona’s haul-out from October to approximately May of 2004 I will briefly list the work needed to get her shipshape for the next cruise.
The weather got a little warmer in March, but still remained wet and chilly; rather inhibiting outside painting. I would like to start painting the mast, but I need several days above 60º F, that has not occurred yet but Red and I managed to drill and tap the new plates in preparation for mounting the winches. In the engine room I installed the compressor for the new freezer. I also got the trusty Perkins diesel started as I had a 100 gallons of fuel put in the new tanks. They don’t seem to be leaking. (Bite your tongue, Eric). With fuel in the tanks I was able to check out the new Tank Tender fuel gauge, at first I had problems, ultimately traced to small leaks in the sensing tube fittings. Fuel also enabled me to test the rebuilt Espar heater, which works fine and came in handy on a few clammy days. The dinette area is virtually finished apart from varnishing and new teak on the cabin sole. I installed the new radio/CD player and new speakers. Walter and a burly friend came round one Saturday morning and we hoisted the refurbished freezer/refrigerator cabinet into the cabin. It is now virtually finished apart from some trim. I ordered a new stove; a four burner Force 10. It was delivered in about a week. Unfortunately when it was in the cabin I discovered the distance between the galley bulkheads was 3/8th of an inch less than the width of the stove itself. This required some woodworking butchery but now it fits and installation is nearly complete. Sean, who has signed up for the London to NY leg via Antarctica, has been showing up on Saturday mornings, he painted the newly created space for the stove. While messing about in the engine room I found a badly corroded heavy duty wire leading to the battery for the anchor winch, this I replaced.
Another important item I was able to find in March was the new prop shaft generator. Bob Berg is making a mounting bracket for it, but it will also need a new electrical control system which I will have to build soon: the generator must be disconnected when the engine is running or will overheat or exceed its rated voltage. I also bought a new compass for the autopilot binnacle, the old one was definitely showing the wear and tear of 20 years’ hard cruising. Helen Franklin in England sent me a new counterweight for the Aries self-steerer. The old one, made of lead, had corroded to the point that it was ready to fall off the mounting. When I got around to painting the spreaders in the basement I found that the wire halyards rubbing on them for so many thousands of miles had almost worn through the metal. I got some flat stock and cut strips that will be welded over the worn areas.
Getting away from the nuts and bolts of the rebuild I spent a couple of days in Newport, RI, at a seminar organized by the Cruising Club of America (CCA) for those going on the cruise in Ireland this summer. I also attended a CCA lunch in Norwalk and kicked off a discussion of repairs at sea. Another CCA meeting was a dinner at the American YC in Rye, after which I showed the video of the last circumnavigation. I also showed the video at three other clubs and gave a slide show at the Patchogue Kiwanis meeting; despite dire warnings no one fell asleep. The crew call for the 2004/2005 cruise was posted on the Web site this month, most of the berths are already spoken for. An article I wrote for Ocean Voyager appeared this month, but the editor mutilated my literary efforts to the point that the published version mixed up Fiona‘s performance in the Southern Ocean with that of Bernard Moitessier aboard his famous boat Joshua. I have posted the original article on the Web site, for those who appreciate the unvarnished truth.
One chore I have started in the quiet evenings in preparation for the next cruise is to organize the charts I need. I sort them into six or seven cruising areas and then put them in sturdy plastic bags after listing them in a master index I will take with me. June is drawing ever closer, there is still a lot to do.
Until next month, best wishes,
Walter ponders how to get the freeze/refrig cabinet in the boat. Note the snow still on the deck.
Floyd has found a warm spot on the Brazilian charts.
Sean is painting the stove space. He has signed up for the leg from London to NY, via Antarctica.
The new stove in place.
The freezer plumbing, located under the companionway.
The completed companionway, freezer/refrig on the left
The new compressor mounted on the engine.
The completed freezer/ refrig cabinet, some trim to be added.