Saturday, August 5, 2017

Marathon: admirer; a new Torqeedo; explorers

        GANNET is near the head of a long marina dock.  Many people pass and admire her.  When I am on deck in the evening they often stop and chat.  
        I returned from biking to the supermarket and West Marine the other day to find the above18”/.5 meter long iguana on the dock staring at GANNET, perhaps contemplating a sea voyage and a change of scene.
        He let me get within ten feet before he turned and took off across the boat yard in an odd run, his body jolting from side to side on short legs, pausing once to look back at me in suspicion and GANNET perhaps with longing, before disappearing into the mangroves.


        Except for some tasks that once started have to be completed, such as the solar panel wiring ordeal two days ago, I work on GANNET for just a few hours in the morning, then bike away to have lunch and shop, if necessary, and spend the afternoons sitting ashore reading and writing in comfortable chairs the marina provides in the shade of a thatched roof.  
        Among my weather apps is Dark Sky which gives among other things the ‘feels like’ temperature.  Now, just after 8 a.m. it shows a true temperature of 85ºF/29.4C that feels like 96ºF/35.5C.   The afternoons here are generally 88º true that feels like 102º.   I don’t even want to imagine what the 103º true in The Great Cabin feels like.
        Yesterday my morning tasks went well until I decided to drag the Torqeedo out and see if it still works.
        I removed the bolt that secures the boom to the mast gooseneck and added washers to both ends.  I glued mounts to secure solar panel wiring.  Many adhesives, including those on the back of velcro fail in tropical heat.  I am now using Gorilla Glue, which seems to be holding up.  It doesn’t set instantly and I have to duct tape the mounts in place for a couple of hours before it does.  I’ll let you know if it fails.  And I touched up a few spots on the topsides paint near the bow.
        Then I removed the duffle bags containing food and clothes from the port pipe berth and crawled aft to fetch the Torqeedo and outboard bracket, which I then assembled on the stern, only to be presented with the dreaded ‘Error 30’, despite this being a brand new battery.  
        The problem is in the connection of the tiller arm to the battery.  I removed the tiller arm, cleaned the points gently with sandpaper and a tiny screw driver, sprayed with WD 40, reattached the tiller, got the same error, and did it all again and this time the motor started.
        I left the Torqeedo on the stern all day and started it again at intervals.  Always with success.
        GANNET is in a slip from which it is impossible to sail.  You may recall that she was towed in.
        I was grateful to be towed, but I don’t like being dependent on others and in the future GANNET is going to be increasingly in marinas rather than on a mooring or at anchor and need reliable motor power.
         I considered trying to buy a new tiller arm for the Torqeedo, but when I went to Defender’s website I found that they are selling the Travel 1003 for $1600, $400 off list price, so I ordered one.  It is due to be delivered next Wednesday.
        Mixing and matching, one way or the other, I better bleeping well have engine power for those last few hundred yards when I need it.


        I am long on record that we are not an intelligent species.  We have survived because we eat almost anything, like to reproduce, have a vast capacity to endure suffering, and because a tiny minority of us are gifted engineers and technicians.
        Truly admirable men and women and great explorers.