Blog Archives

Does it rain in Paradise?

23:06.75S 134:57.98W

SunriseAukena by .

Sunrise over Aukena with rain clouds brewing

Yes it does! The last week has been very wet but only slightly cooler than the previous couple of weeks. We have been swimming every day but that is about all our outdoor activities have been limited to Read more ›

Work begins

I’ve been in Puerto Williams, Chile, working on Morgane for just over two weeks now and apologise for not getting an entry online earlier but I have been working long hours to get things done. I sailed over here, from Stanley, with my friend Brice on his yacht ‘Podorange’ an ex BT challenge 67 yacht that he now charters down here in the SW Atlantic and Antarctica.

On arrival I unloaded the new sails that I had brought Quantum in Cape Town,  South Africa, and all the boxes of odds and ends that had been sent to Stanley for me and got to work. The first think I had to tackle was to clean up the galley and one of the bunks as everything was rather damp and smelly after the boat has been sitting for so long. I got the shore power connected and got an electric fan heater to work to help air the boat out.

The first job, other than the clean up which is ongoing, was to hook up the batteries and get the shore-power battery charger working. That gave me light to work with in the evenings. Another day was spent on fitting the new sails and pulling in the new running rigging; all seems ok but the ultimate trial won’t come for a little while yet when I get out to test them.

I got fed up moving the box containing the new wind generator every time that it got in the way so mounted that and got it working. It only really works when the wind is in the south west here as we are so sheltered but at least yesterday I had a day of free power.

I had to remove the old wood burner and chimney (see the photo below) as it was in the way of all the following projects. I was expecting to find a horrible rusty hole in the coach roof when I pulled out the old chimney but instead found good clean solid steel. I fitted the through deck fitting for the new chimney so that the deck was weatherproof and so that the sealant would have time to cure while I messed around with things electrical.

I then got into a several day project which was to build a new 12 Volt power distribution panel and instrument panel alongside the existing chart table. All of this a temporary installation until such time as I get to some place where I will refit the interior of the yacht.

The old electrical panel

Here is photo of the old electrical panel which was a mishmash of several  different type of breakers, switches, wire, fuses etc.. The big tube up the right side of the picture is the chimney from the big wood burning space heater; which is no longer there – more on that later.

I got hold of some fairly decent ply from a packing case that I was given and made a plan to cover the front of the shelves that you see in the photo and mount the new electrical panels and instruments on the ply. I had two 12 Volt distribution panels and a battery monitor to mount on one side and a couple of instruments and the HF and vhf radios to mount on the other.

I laid everything out and decided that it would all fit and fired up the jigsaw to cut out the mounting holes.

The new power and instrument panelOne day to cut out and mount the panels and fit the instruments then another day spent connecting everything up and testing produced the result that you see on the left.

The right panel holds the battery status monitor and two 12 Volt DC breaker panels. One of those has two cigar lighter type outlets (handy for charging iPods and camera batteries).

The left panel is instruments and radios. From top left, clockwise, we have an electronic recording barometer, an aneroid barometer, AIS transponder and display, the Pactor modem for receiving weather fax and email over the HF radio, on the bottom we have the VHF radio, above that the HF radio, and a multi-function instrument display from Furuno.

The Furuno multi-function display (an RD-33) is connected to a NMEA 2000 network which connects to the wind instrument, gps, depth, speed, compass etc..

Above the laptop screen you can see an old but good Furuno GPS navigator that I’ll keep.

The laptop is running MaxSea’s TimeZero charting and navigation software and also connected to the NMEA 2000 (N2K) network via an interface that produces a USB output.  The AIS transponder is networked with the radio and the computer giving the ability to directly call approaching ships by selecting them on the AIS screen. Any DSC calls received should show up on the screens too.

Enough technical chat and on with the work! The next thing I tackled was to relocate the fuse and breaker for the anchor windlass which would otherwise have been difficult to reach behind the heater which I planned to install next.

A big milestone was getting the new Refleks diesel heater installed which was more or less a two day job, three including installing the through-deck fitting mentioned earlier. The day I lit the heater the outside temperature was just a couple of degrees with sleet and lots of wind so a great day to test the heater! It’s been in use for a few days now and I am learning where to set the control knob to achieve the desired cabin temperature.

Engine before and after a clean up

Today I moved onto putting the engine back into service. Apart from a full service I have a new smart alternator/battery charger to install and have to replace the Morse controller (the combined throttle and gear change lever that is located in the cockpit).

But, before I wanted to work on the engine it needed a massive clean up, and that little job took all of today. You can see the results in the photo on the right. I consider today’s clean up a first pass; it’ll take another day when I have the time to be more concerned with cosmetics.

Still lots to do but that is progress so far. It’s late and I’m tired so apologies for the bad grammar and spelling mistakes!


New sails and Geocaching

Well it’s the weekend! Time to relax and not have to do anything to anybody else’s schedule for the first time in a couple of months. This evening I’m going to cook myself a proper meal for the first time in months too. I’m totally fed up with eating snacks and restaurant food.

This week was mostly concerned with getting settled back into Cape Town life. Finding the best route for the morning drive to work; which I still haven’t found as each time I have tried a potentially new track the journey has been disrupted by an accident or something else slowing down the traffic. Probably better to stick to the main drags that I know fairly well even if a little longer.

Pelagic Australis at the East Pier in front of Table Mountain

Work on ‘Pelagic Australis’ is progressing well. We have Gamje’s team of painters at work preparing to re-spray the pilot house, the windlass is away getting new bearings, the Refleks heater has been taken out and given a new burner pot and coil, a lot of interior paintwork has been touched up, all the radiators have been taken out and cleaned out, a chest freezer has been installed in the forepeak ready to contain some ice-cores from a project on South Georgia next season, the old Fleet 77 satellite comms antenna has been removed along with an old radar and a Sat C antenna to make way for the new FB 500 satellite antenna and Iridium OpenPort systems, the Bombard C4 tender that was eaten by a leopard seal last season has been to the inflatable boat doctor and declared a right-off so a replacement is on the way etc. etc. the list goes on.

I paid a visit to Quantum sails on Wednesday to discuss the requirements for the new sails for ‘Morgane’. Quantum’s Warren and I looked at the old sails, which had been brought over on ‘Pelagic Australis’ and discussed a few slight modifications and finalised the choice of cloth, batten pockets, slide system, reef points etc.. Work has already started on the new Main sail and the two headsails that I am having made will follow.

View across Cape Town from below Devil's PeakThis afternoon I decided to have a look at what geocaches might be located around Cape Town, that I could visit. I found four on Table Mountain withing a 500m radius of my apartment so went out and found two of those this afternoon. If you are a hiker or otherwise out and about, wherever you are, and have not discovered the activity of Geocaching yet check it out. It can add an extra dimension to an afternoons hike or actually give you a reason to go somewhere new. There are many types of caches to look for some are easy to find, some have cryptic clues, earth caches will teach you something about the environment you are in.