Monday, January 10, 2011

Boat project day

Tomorrow we’ll cross Haro Strait to Sidney, weather permitting.  I could publish this today on the excellent Verizon signal that we have here but we’re planning to surprise Marilyn’s sister Judy & her husband with our arrival.  Good surprise / bad surprise – I dunno – but it won’t be much of a surprise if she reads this nonsense and figures out that we are enroute already so that’s why we have imposed radio silence for the past few days.

Yesterday we left Anacortes following Maximo.  The pilots talk about IFR which as far as I can tell means “I follow the railroad” or maybe “I follow roads”.  Our version of that was IFM (I follow Maximo) and it worked well although I must boast a bit.  The night before we left I plotted out what I thought our likely course would be and I pinned it except for the last leg of about 5 miles.  I had the last leg nailed too but our leaders didn’t think we’d like the lumpy seas on the north side of Spieden and Stuart Islands so they changed course to take us the slightly longer route around the south side of both islands. 

It was a little rough getting into Prevost Harbor but nothing serious.  We let Kim and Steve go in ahead of us and waited until they were safely inside before we came in.  They tied up at the end of the pier leaving just nicely enough room behind them for Gray Hawk but that meant I had to spin her beside Maximo in fairly skinny water and then back in sideways to our berth.  Chuck and I had a long talk about docking after we arrived at Anacortes and that was a huge help.  All his time with Gray Hawk was sans bow thruster so I have a huge advantage if I can just learn how to use it.  Yesterday I managed to push her upwind toward the dock for about 50 feet and everything went smoothly.  I’m sure I’ve got some dock-wrecks ahead of me but yesterday was a major confidence builder.

The Oberto’s dogs know this place well so they went flying by us as soon as we were docked, headed for the trails on the island.  The rest of us followed them, albeit at a much slower pace and set about gathering firewood for a roaring fire.  When that had burned down to red embers we laid steaks directly on the coals and minutes later were eating them along with the foil wrapped spuds that had spent a much longer time beside the fire.

Today was a slow day.  I actually managed to sleep in until around 8:00 ship time and then set into checking items off my to-do list.  Chuck gave me some 1-1/2” fire hose so that was top of the list.  It makes wonderful chafe guard but it’s a genuine PITA to get it on the ropes.  It wouldn’t be bad if you were just putting on a foot or so but Chuck said 4 feet was better so that was what I was dealing with. 

I also tracked down the electrical gremlin that was preventing us from using our fridge on the inverter.  Steve and I had talked that one through around the campfire last night so I was pretty sure I knew where to start looking and it didn’t take long to find the problem.  The 110 volt electrical system on the boat is wired a little differently than what we have on the bus.  I need to understand the implications of changing it before I tear into that project but I think the bus system is better.  It’s really hard to find anybody who actually understands electricity and even harder to find someone who understands boat electrical systems and their electrolysis implications.  I think Steve has a pretty good handle on that so I’ll be picking his brain tonight.  The bus is wired in “pass through” mode which means that the power from the shore pedestal comes to the inverter first and then “passes through” the inverter on it’s way to the rest of the bus systems.  The boat is not wired that way & I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t be.

Right now I’m procrastinating doing battery maintenance because I flat out hate doing it.  I’ll get to it sometime soon.  Shortly after we bought the bus we went to a rally in Rickreall, OR.  At the rally I talked to Dick Wright (WRICO) about my battery maintenance attitudes and he said “if you’re not going to do battery maintenance religiously then buy AGMs (absorbed glass matt batteries) and forget about them.”  That’s exactly what I did and almost 8 years later now they’re still going strong.  Everybody I have talked to about the batteries on Gray Hawk tells me that I’m silly to think about changing out the flooded cell Trojans that are in her now but I think there might be four new 8D AGMs in her future.  They’re really bloody expensive batteries though so the thought of doing that is giving me a bit of pause.

1 comment:

Reluctant Cowboy said...

It is so wonderful to read that you're a traveling boaty now :)

You bet AGM would be a lot easier and not as much gas to deal with during those desulfate chargings.

It sounds like your boat is wired like my bus was. SInce I changed it there are times when the pass through gets overloaded and pops the breaker....air con going and it decides that the batteries need to be charged will pop the thing every time.....guess I need a bigger inverter.

Keep safe and dry