Saturday, March 19, 2016

Opua: the wet and the dry; a new coat

        Last night was both wet and dry.  
        The dry came first.  I had a dry evening in that I drank no wine or spirits, only club soda with a slice of lemon.  I prefer lime, but limes are hard to come by in the Bay of Islands.  
        There is no pattern to my dry nights.  They are random, unplanned and infrequent.  Something of an experiment to see if I feel any differently after not drinking.  I don’t.  I do observe that I sleep a little less well after them.
        The wet came from intermittent rain, some heavy, causing me to have the forward hatch closed most of the night.
        Today GANNET has been in constant motion.  Almost as much as if she were at sea.  The wind is not all that strong.  Eighteen knots is the highest I’ve seen; but blowing across the tide, it is creating mini-overfalls.  We are sometimes rolling enough for objects on the two small counter tops beside me to slide off, and actions have to be planned.
        I have managed to get some work done.
        Soon after I woke up, I climbed into the dinghy with rag and wax and polished two small areas on each side of the hull that I couldn’t reach when GANNET was in the cradle.  When I rowed to and from the little boat, their dullness offended me.
        I would like to touch up the white rub rail, but the dinghy was moving far too much for that, and if the forecast is correct, I wouldn’t be able to for almost a week.  Wind the next few days, then a near gale with heavy rain Tuesday night through Thursday.  I was fortunate to have perfect weather when hauled out.
        I rowed ashore to shower and buy a bottle of red wine, half of which will accompany my evening feast of freeze dry spaghetti Bolognaise.  I also bought a short length of line to use as a secondary tether to the mooring.  The mooring line itself is far too big for GANNET’s cleats, and since returning from the haul-out I’ve only been secured to it by a single line, which is more than strong enough to hold GANNET.  But with a gale coming and the marina breakwater only fifteen yards/meters away, I’d like a back-up.
        Returning to GANNET, I tied the tether in place, tied down the tiller, moved the running backstays from where they have been near the mast since we went to Russell back into their normal position.
        After lunch I cleaned the bilge which desperately needed it after grime and grit fell there during the haul-out.  This was a full remove the floor boards and use most of a roll of paper towels cleaning.  The bilge is again white rather than black.
        Yesterday I slithered aft and dragged three bags of freeze dry food forward to inventory.  I was pleased to find that one of them contains thirty-two meals I put aboard before leaving San Diego.  The New Zealand Back Country Cuisine remains my favorite brand, but it will be nice to mix the U.S meals in for added variety.
        While hauled out I took one of the Raymarine tiller pilots to Opua Canvas to have them make a cover.  It came out even better than I hoped.
       It is my belief that my tiller pilots failed because water entered the housing around the tiller rod.  There is no way that opening can be water tight and still permit the rod to move as it must.  On GANNET the tiller pilot is mounted to starboard of the tiller.  When heeled to starboard, any water that strikes the tiller rod is carried by gravity to, and often into, the housing.

        The Pelagic tiller pilot attempts to solve this in two ways:  all of the electronics are housed below deck, and, I believe, the motor drive is housed in a separate cylinder above that enclosing the tiller rod.  
        The new cover is not water tight, but it will certainly keep a lot of water off the unit.  It is long enough to accordion in and out with the rod.  I intend to attempt to seal the end around the rod with duct tape.
        I plan to use the Pelagic as my primary tiller pilot on coming passages, but spending a hundred dollars to protect the Raymarines seems reasonable.

        The top photo is GANNET from shore.  She’s near the center.