30 September 2016 - Whangarei New Zealand
We’re back after our nearly three month “holiday” in Canada. For the first time, I realized that our “nearly annual” trek back home was a lot like the Christmas holiday period. Why? Because I’m on leave, sedentary, eating a lot, and visiting other people (most of whom are still working and haven’t yet hit retirement). This, I reckon, at least on me, has the effect of fattening me up, just like Christmas-time!
When we left on 14 June, our “bottom paint” job was still underway. Its now done, but unfortunately - more costly than we expected. The actual cost for the total job came out to more than $ 25K and by way of comparison, back in September 2008, we had the same work done (with the same materials) while in Canada for $17K. To “rub salt in the wound”, Diane learned from a Facebook friend in Australia that her and her husband had just done nearly the same work on their steel Roberts 53, at a cost of only $4K. They did all the labour themselves, including operating the sandblaster and applying paint. In retrospect, its really unfair to compare these costs though because we used 3M epoxy and Coppercoat, both premium and expensive paints. Bottom line - I suppose we’ll try to do it ourselves next time.
I was told before the job commenced that the sandblaster operator was very precise, but it turned out he wasn’t as good as he thought he was, and he left a jagged edge in many areas on the white boot-stripe.
I decided to make the repairs to the boot stripe at the waterline on my own.
A few hours after we returned to the boat a few weeks ago, I discovered that our step-down transformer (240V - 120V) refused to start up. Of course, it was not plugged in the whole time that we were away, but shortly after we returned, I did plug it in and then it stopped after only an hour. Finding a replacement was a little challenging, but we did get a Victron Auto-transformer, 3600W 240V-120V through Snow Brothers, who in turn got it from the NZ distributer Lusty and Blundell. I wired it up in about an hour but then spent the following week troubleshooting it, because I couldn’t get it to work, at all. After the Australian importer and the Netherlands manufacturer ignored my emails - I went back to the NZ distributer - Lusty and Blundell, only to discover that they had supplied the wrong printed manual. A few hours after receiving the correct manual, I moved one wire and presto - it worked like a charm.
One of the jobs that I wanted to do while the boat was out of the water was to replace the rudder shaft seal (Tides Marine), something that I first installed in 1999, 18 years ago. These things do dry out, and I did notice a bit of salt water in the area more than a year ago. The components are under our bed in the aft cabin, so access and light is pretty good.
Replacing the seal took about a day, with all the other bits that had to be removed to get access to it, but in doing so - I discovered two other things that needed attention: I took the hydraulic steering cylinder in to get all the seals replaced, and I had a machine shop manufacture a new bearing for the tiller arm. None of this work cost much, and it was easy to do it in Whangarei.
This photo shows the end of the tiller arm, and the bearing that the cylinder acts on.
Next thing on the list was to “start-up” our refrigerator. This was a Technautics holding plate system, bought 6 years ago when we were in Florida. Over the years, startup has been a bit difficult and several times we’ve even left it running when we’ve been away. This, by the way, is the same fridge that quit while we were on our 24 day passage from Galapagos to French Polynesia last year. Well, to make a long story short - the fridge didn’t cool down, after running for 16 hours - and we had little patience to “nurse it along”. I put a bit of gas in it, and then did it again, but still no joy - so we decided to throw it out and start with a new system. This time though, we’ve gone with an evaporator plate (rather than a holding plate) and a Danfoss BD50 in an Isotherm 2017, air cooled 12V system. I’ve installed it myself. In the past, we’ve had two different holding plate systems, but since they’ve been powered by a 12V compressor and not an engine driven compressor, I don’t think the efficiency is really any different than an evaporator plate (which our built-in freezer uses).
One of the success stories has to be the overhaul of our Autoprop propellor. I turned it over to Q-Marine in Auckland and they changed the bearings while we were in Canada, something that it was in need of. It was definitely cheaper than sending it all the way back to the UK for maintenance.
Sometimes when you take things apart, its good to notice other things that although they haven’t yet failed - they need attention.
The only thing keeping us “on dry land” at the moment is our steering system. It has to be perfect before we launch (steering is a critical system) and after reassembly, it has presented a minor leak and occasionally behaves as though there is a bit of air in the lines. More testing and more attention is required!
To see previous log entries, just use the tabs at the top of this page.
Countries Visited So Far with our boat, and detailed on these pages:
(Departed Canada: May 2009) (30 countries by boat so far)
Antigua: May 2011
Bermuda: June - August 2009
Bonaire: February - April 2014
Bahamas: December 2009 - March 2010, December 2010 - February 2011
Barbados: March 2012
British Virgin Islands: May 2011
Colombia: October 2014 - December 2014
Cuba: March - May 2010
Curaçao: May 2014 - September 2014
Dominica: May 2011, April 2013
Dominican Republic: March - April 2011
Fiji: September/October 2015
French Polynesia (Marquesas, Tuamotos, Tahiti and the Society Islands): April-July 2015
Galapagos: March 2015
Grenada: June-November 2011
Guadeloupe: March 2013
Martinique: March 2012, March 2013
New Zealand: November 2015 -
Niue: July/August 2015
Panama: December 2014 (San Blas Islands), (Portobello and Canal) January/February 2015
Puerto Rico: April 2011
St Lucia: May-June 2011, December 2011 - February 2012, December 2012 - February 2013
St Martin /Netherlands Antilles: May 2011
St Vincent and the Grenadines: June 2011, February 2012, December 2012, April-May 2013
Tobago: March-May 2012
Tonga: August 2015
Trinidad: May - December 2012, June - November 2013
USA: August - November 2009, June - November 2010
US Virgin Islands: May 2011
Venezuela: November 2013 - February 2014
Before we went cruising, we also "had a life" and did our fair share of visiting (or living in) other countries.
We've also been to a few other countries, but just not with our boat. (33 countries so far)
Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia Herzogevinia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, France, Gibraltar,
Hong Kong, Jamaica, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway
Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland), Vatican City
SV Joana is listed for sale at this site (in case you're wondering why, we're not planning to give up the cruising lifestyle or our home, but most things are for sale and since we've met many cruisers who have listed their boat, we figured we'd do it too).