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Friday, March 18, 2011

The Flopper-Stoppers are deployed!

Today was maintenance day.  The morning started with Ron doing the 12kw genset oil change, oil filter change, and impeller change. We also changed out the impellers on the main engines, as they were due per our maintenance schedule….although, as Murphy’s Law would have it, the old impellers looked great and Ron was kicking himself for having changed them too soon. Yes, it’s a boat…! I know it doesn’t sound like much work, but it’s never a 5-minute job! The real mystery is how can engine manufacturers place impeller pumps so that there is never quite enough clearance whatsoever to pull out the old impeller and insert the new?  Do they not realize that the impellers need to be changed regularly?

While Ron was dealing with the main engine impellers, I was prepping our salon wall sconce light to be rewired for a new switch. The old switch died, and in order to replace it, we needed to solder the new switch’s tiny, minute terminals to the existing wires. Not being up on soldering techniques, I checked out our “bible”, the Nigel Calder book called Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual. As always, it was quite useful, as it showed how to do the soldering and tinning, and in what order. But, to be honest, since Ron was working on the gen set and main engine impellers -- and calling me every ten minutes for small assistance tasks –- I wasn’t exactly making way with the light switch!

Especially since I needed 4 hands. The lamp was hanging off the wall by the one remaining working wire, so I was trying to hold the unit steady at the same time I was going to 1) tin the blue wire so that it would attach to the tiny, miniscule  terminal on the switch and 2) do so cleanly enough to make sure there would be room to attach the wire to the terminal to its left. Remember, the boat was rolling a bit, this being Statia -- the anchorage here is only somewhat protected from the swells coming in around the island from the south. Thus...I wasn't exactly feeling as steady as I wanted to be! (How I love electricity aboard a boat!) That coupled with all my running to assist Ron with the impeller changes on the mains, I felt like I wasn't making any headway. So productive!

Yet…by noon, the 12 kW gen set oil was changed, both main engine impellers were replaced, and between Ron and I (the needed 4 hands), the salon lamp switch’s two terminals were not only soldered to the appropriate wires, but done neatly, separated safely and secured with electrical tape to guard against vibration… and…most amazing of all: the lamp actually works!

You would think we would have taken the day off to have some fun after all our hard work, but after a lunch at the Golden Era Hotel (one of only 4 hotels on the island) we returned to Equinox to do one last task: we deployed our flopper-stoppers for the first time! It’s true…after four years, we finally decided we should put out the flopper-stoppers while on anchor. Statia was the perfect place to do it, since the surge, while consistent, was really rather mild and thus the best conditions to play around with the flopper-stoppers. Easily done, and once in the water, they really do dampen the roll a bit. Nice! (Plus, we look so nautical for ourselves!) A great afternoon!
The Starboard side boom deployed and in use
No more rolling!
We hosted a few divers aboard for pre-dinner cocktails before we went ashore for dinner the Kings’ Well. It’s always fun to meet new folks! Kate was here on Statia scoping out the diving scene for her boss, who owns a large mega-yacht and loves to scuba-dive; Tom and Gwen were here visiting, having come down on their sailboat from St. John. We had a great time…as always, trading lots of stories and laughs, and learning more about the island. Great fun!

1 comment:

  1. We are enjoying following you guys.

    Who designed and installed your flopper stoppers?
    We are hoping to add them to our Whaleback FLUKE.

    I have been looking at the ones by Prime Fabrication. What is your opinion of them?

    thanks -- wayne

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