Thursday, November 3, 2011

Marine Services

Good technical marine service exist here in St. Maarten, so happily, right away on Wednesday we had Gordon from FKG aboard checking into the davit's "no boom down" issue. Seems we might have it diagnosed; the valve assembly is working properly, as is the DIN connection, and we've got the correct pressure in the hydraulic oil reservoir tank (which I had to access yet again in my slithery fashion behind the engine and over the exhaust manifold, so that Gordon could talk me through the procedure to check the pressure). It seems that the boom counterweight valve is most likely faulty, or at the very least, on its last legs: it would sometimes work, sometimes not, as we moved the boom up and haltingly back down. Gordon is getting a new valve shipped from Nautical Structures and should get it installed early next week. Let's hope this does the trick!
Gordon testing and re-testing the boom counterweight valve
The water-maker is getting yet another re-fit as well, from a very experienced St. Maarten technician from Electec. Seems that the newer models all have a booster pump in-line ahead of the regular pump, which ours lacks. The extra pump ensures that the water-maker has better pressure, and thus makes better water. While we think our water's salinity has been adequate according to our hand-held salinity tester, we weren't sure of its calibration, (you need a special calibration solution to check it) and since the salinity probe of the water-maker unit keeps failing, the actual salinity is an unknown! The bigger issue is that the unit isn't making as much water as it is supposed to, and according to Jan, the technician, after checking our system, he thinks the extra pump will resolve our issues, as our membranes are fine. (Let's hope so...I have to admit, it's a bit hard to be optimistic, since we've have so many problems! From failed motherboards, failed diverter valves, blown fuses and solenoids, to failed Clark pumps and incorrectly-built "new" replacements, to countless salinity probe failures, this unit has been a source of angst!) We don't think we're being demanding; we just want it to work  properly! So...let's have at it: one more fix, and as always, we'll keep our fingers crossed! 

Despite all the mechanic visits, we still had time to buzz about in the dinghy, and get the lay of the land around Simpson Bay. We stopped in at Budget Marine, and got several items for the dinghy, from cup holders to a Caribbean chip for its Garmin chartplotter. (Yay!) We also went over to the French side and stopped in at the Yamaha dealer to get a spare prop for the dinghy, should we ever need it. We got lucky in that the spare prop for the old engine was still aboard -- new, never-used and still in its box -- so we were able to trade that in for a few euros to reduce the expense of the new one. A little bit of serendipity -- how nice! So... busy few days, with lots of boat work, and boat projects on-going! Just happy we're here where there are spare parts and good marine services available, as I said! 

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