Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Mad Dogs and Englishmen Sew Out in the Midday Sun (with apologies to Noel Coward)

As we feared, the docking date for our ship keeps getting delayed; bad weather up in the NE of Australia has delayed the m/v Damgracht and our latest loading date is now 21 March. Neither of us would accept bets that this won't change again! No matter, we have lots to do and the extra time in the marina is making us get to jobs that we've probably been creatively avoiding; it's just a bit frustrating that a couple of the more time-consuming ones would have been unnecessary had decisions been made just a little differently.

The first, completed yesterday, was to make a cover for the dinghy's new cover. Yes, that makes no sense but, unfortunately, we discovered that the very smart storage cover that came with Dinghy McDingface, bought in NZ only a couple of years ago, was made from a material which just seemed to dissolve in sunlight. After only one season it was held together with sticky tape and an email to the Auckland retailer was met with a reply along the lines of, 'We've complained to Zodiac but they just say the cover is for transport and not for deck storage' which seemed a little bizarre since the dinghy won't fold down to go into a locker, unless you happen to have a superyacht. We contacted Zodiac in France via their Facebook page and were told much the same thing but, after a lot of wrangling, they relented and said they'd send us an new cover. Result! Except for the fact that the material was the same as our old one so we knew it'd last no time at all if we exposed it to Australia's harsh sunshine. So we've spent about $300 on UV-proof Sunbrella acryclic canvas and some proper zips (the one in the Zodiac cover was a joke) and set to work in the hot sunshine.

G and the Awesome Machine

Di marking out the new material

The new Zodiac cover sewn into the Sunbrella canvas

Done - after a long, hot day
Our second, day-long task started innocuously enough. The stern (white) navigation light, which is mounted on the pushpit (the red and green bow lights are mounted on the pulpit, so it does make sense) stopped working. The fitting is as old as the boat (20 years) and the old design is very prone to corrosion and connection problems; we replaced the bow lights with sealed LED units last year but we thought the stern light was fine. 

Inside the light fitting, the bulb was fine and the connectors weren't a ball of corrosion. Hmmm, so what's the problem?...
 So, an easy 'new bulb fitted, job done!' project clearly wasn't going to go to plan. Deep into the lockers we went to find the voltmeter which told us that the light fitting was only getting about 3 volts rather than the 12 it needed; this was, to say the least, perplexing. Must be a break in the cable somewhere. Then it dawned on us - the cable runs from the light inside the stainless tubing of the pushpit and into the cockpit locker where it joins the main wiring loom. When we had the arch to carry the solar panels installed in Martinique five years ago the engineers welded two support struts for the aft vertical support onto that very tube! 

Of course this would have melted the insulation and the cable gradually corroded through in the salty air. We carefully pulled it out, with a thin line attached but, unsurprisingly, it broke half way.

The melted and very corroded cable - amazing that it kept working for so long!
You probably can't imagine how long it took and how near to defeat we came when we tried to feed a length of stiff wire through the 2m tubing (unless you own a boat, and then you'll have a very good idea) but, finally, we had new cable pulled through and connected up, and a smart new LED stern light added for good measure.

Fully waterproof, good for 50,000 hours and uses 20% of the power.

The final little maintenance story is a happier one and we are proud to announce a new record on Maunie - our quickest-ever haul out. We decided to get the boat lifted out at the little yard in the marina to rid her of any pesky Australian barnacles (which are tenacious little buggers), replace a sea-cock ball-valve that had seized and swap propellers. We smashed our previous best and our lift-out to relaunch time was only 3 hours!

8.00 am and all is calm for the lift out. Just as well as we had to come in backwards to fit the travel-lift and going backwards is not Maunie's forte
The yard is tiny but there are some very helpful engineers on hand when needed
You may remember a story from two years ago when we had to remove our fancy feathering propeller and send it, at great cost, back to the manufacturers in England for refurbishment. Well, it's now rattling again and we discovered at the last lift-out in November that the bearing grooves had worn badly - the manufacturers have said this is not normal and have agreed to take it back to investigate the cause so we decided it made sense to take it off now and have it ready for them to work on as soon as we get back. From experience, we knew that getting it off the tapered propeller shaft would be a challenge so we'd arranged help from Brad, the yard manager, and his impressive hydraulic prop-puller.

Brad applies the pressure - the tool can pull up to 10 tonnes and we needed them all. When the prop finally parted company with the shaft it did so with a startling bang.

Maunie's original fixed-blade prop is back  
We're now back in the marina and, with the latest shipping delay, are trying to balance the boat jobs with a bit of time off. We even managed to go to the cinema the other day to see The Mercy, which is the tragic story of single-handed sailor Donald Crowhurst (played by Colin Firth); quite a tough watch at times but recommended.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you have been very busy! Good luck with the final send off and then you can relax! Trish xx