Familiarity Breeds Competence and Speed

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While we were on holiday (vacation) we stopped by to check on Morgan’s Cloud all tucked up in a shed at Billings Diesel and Marine and discovered that her steering was seized solid because the new type of dripless packing that we tried out for the first time had dried out and frozen to the aluminum rudder shaft.

Note to self: when you have been using a packing material (ordinary flax) for years without problems, it’s not broken so don’t fix it! But that’s not the point of this post.

You Pays Your Money…

Just made for the job

One refreshing thing about Spain is that it is still a country where people carry out many of their own repairs. Evidence of this can be seen in the number of ironmongers (ferreterias) that still exist in even relatively minor towns, Aladdin’s caves filled with every conceivable item for some old fashioned DIY from the tiniest screw to a cement mixer.

Saving The Day

Too bad to use—too costly to replace

It’s a fact of life that even in our throw away world of ‘service by replacement’ equipment there are times when good old fashioned improvisation can save the day, especially when you’re thousands of miles from the nearest service centre. As a result, part of any spares kit should comprise of a mix of wire, bulldog clips, glues and fillers—what Lou refers to disparagingly as my ‘junk’. So when our perpetually troublesome autopilot threw its latest tantrum (the ram fell off its mounting) I reached for the oddments bag.

The Three Most Dangerous Words In Boat Maintenance

JHHGH1-1070080We joined our friends Dave and Shelly, who live and voyage on their beautiful, and beautifully maintained, Able Apogee 50, Cadence, for dinner the other night.

I knew that they had spent the day on maintenance tasks on Cadence and I could sense that it might have been a tough go. (It’s a sure sign of maintenance stress  when cruisers grab their first beer of the evening with both hands and drain the lot.) Once David had lost a little of that wild-eyed look that I know so well from the mirror, I asked him how their day went. This was his answer:

Experts Worth Their Weight In Gold

In the slings to antifoul the centreboard

Back afloat at last, and it’s so good to feel Pèlerin swing to the wind and tide at anchor once more, after what seemed an endless winter.

The last few weeks in the boatyard have been exhausting, as we’ve slogged through the work getting her ready for the long haul after a series of false starts. A patched up repair to our rudder coming down the Portuguese coast last year was obviously not going to be the long-term solution that was required.

A Great Resource

PSPractical Sailor is only magazine we still subscribe to. We have been getting their great information on all things boating gear for over 25 years. In that time the magazine has saved us untold amounts of money, not to speak of frustration and wasted time, by helping us to source the best gear available and avoid much of the junk that populates the marine market.

We Can’t Do It All

Part of the engine installation project on Morgan’s Cloud was the fitting of new engine mounts—which meant welding, which meant sparks flew, which meant the paint in the engine room got speckled. (Morgan’s Cloud’s builder did a wonderful job of most things, but painting the bilge in the engine room was not one of his better ideas.)

Bock Marine Soothes Boatyard Hell

“Boat Yard Hell” is our term of endearment for Morgan’s Cloud’s annual date with a boat lift. There just isn’t much fun to it: living at the top of a 15’ ladder, peeing in a bucket, the morning dash to the toilet building, and of course day after day of boat chores as we try and get it done.