August 13, 2010
Montreal Old Harbour, Montreal, QC
Before leaving Toronto the Budget Committee and I invested hours and hours in refitting, upgrading and maintaining our beloved Meredith. Wood was sanded, windows removed and recaulked, a new SineWave Inverter installed and so on. Our proposed venture - Toronto to Annapolis via the St. Lawrence was our most ambitious yet and we wanted Meredith as ready as she could be.
So systems were checked, double checked and whatever needed to be done was done.
So we thought.
Leaving Toronto we discovered the massive spider infestation which afflicts that poor metropolis had resulted in our windvane being welded to its bearing. It would not move. A few full turns in the lake did nothing to free it. Heavy rain two days later had salutory effect but it remains sluggish and unreliable. Time for the Budget Committee to go up the mast.
On the afternoon of our first day out our manual head went south. It stopped sucking in raw water to flush away the tainted contents in the bowl. Pump as fast and as hard as you would - the result was you staring at the same stool sample as when you began.
For the next couple of days we just poured a glass or two of fresh water into the bowl and flushed away. Sometimes more than two glasses.
We keep a spare set of seals for our manual head at the ready. We also keep a complete second pump assembly. In this way when the head balks we have short work to replace it. Just 3 hoses and 4 screws and the job is done. Then the deficient pump can be rebuilt at our leisure after it has been disinfected and dried out. A much more appealing prospect let me assure you. It took 2 days for me to get to the job. The Budget Committee changed seals on the old unit and we are ready in spades for the next attack.
Day two the PL256 connector joining the coax cable to the radio fell off its coax. It just fell off. It had not been installed by me but by some moron who had no idea how to solder a connector. It was done by a commercial yard in Toronto at very high cost to the last owner of our boat.
Day two slightly later in the day we discovered the sheet car was frozen solid and would not turn. Neither could the axle bolt be removed; it being just as frozen. We began applying PB Blaster every couple of hours and after a day and a half it now grudgingly delivers our sheet to us with less resistance than it did on Day 2.
On the evening of Day two the anchor rode jammed in the Hause Pipe. Somehow 3 separate lengths of chain attempted to escape the chain locker simultaneously. The result was the classic 3 stooges - 3 men in a doorway - jammup. We took the windlass apart and wrestled the chain into good order leaving firm instructions for all ingress and egress to be single file.
On day 3 we rested. We did this because it rained and stormed all day. This gave the Budget Committee a fair test of our latest attempt to seal the mast at the partner from ingress of water. The rest of the day saw my abused wife redirecting the near flood of water penetrating that which we were sure was impenetrable.
We are pretty sure we have all the leaks sealed now.
There was a bright side. Being totally occupied with the imminent flood the Budget Committee was unable to fire up the vaccuum cleaner, an event which I anticipate with the same joy as did my old dog Molly.
While the Budget Committee played "little dutch girl" I installed the battery switch and combining relay shose installation had fallen victim to our need to leave the Toronto marina on the day we ran out of contract time. It was leave with no switch or pay more money. I mean, c'mon.
Day 4 I had to fix the problems caused by my ham handed failure to install the battery switch correctly and my leaving a couple of nuts improperly tightened. Man does an electrical system hate loose nuts.
Today, in Montreal, the Budget Committee and I installed the remote control for the inverter. This was necessary so we could put back in place the big drawer under the quarterberth which we had to leave out and blocking 3 square feet of space so I could reach under and press the buttons on the inverter itself.
Finished that job the Budget Committee did the laundry. The laundry machines were broken but you could not find this out until you had put all your money in. She had to enlist staff aid to get the machines, which are brand new, to actually wash or dry.
As this drama played out I removed, dissassembled and modified the Iskra alternator that came with our Beta diesel so it would take external regulation. Then I installed the alternator, tested to ensure nothing would blow up (it didn't to my confused surprise), added the external regulator, a new switched busbar needed for the regulator to function without my having to actually hand crank the thing and then attempt to find all the parts I lost in the process. That was not a total success.
Tomorrow, underway again we anticipate having to fix the snags arising from today's installations.
But tonight we have the night to ourselves. We can do anything we want.
Guess what we want to do.