07 May 2019

A Further Taste...

Continuing on from last time, I've been trying to give you a taste of the more interesting jobs we've done in just the last couple of days. There has been painting and varnishing going on, too (hey, it's a steel boat), but even I find painting boring, so I chose to ignore them!

So, where was I?

New VHF Radio

Modern VHF radios, equiped with DSC, or Digital Selective Calling, are one of the best safety features you can have on an offshore boat. By pressing the little red button on the front panel, you can trigger an automatic SOS which includes your exact GPS location, the identity of your boat, and even the nature of the distress call. With a masthead antenna up 60 feet or so, and a 25 watt radio, your mayday signal can be heard by the Coast Guard or other ships from a long way off.

However, to be of use, the radio needs to be programmed with the boat's MMSI number. And unfortunately, once programmed, the radio can't be re-programmed. I have no idea why.

We had a perfectly good VHF radio on Petronella, but it had John and Gill's MMSI number programmed into it. I bought a replacement radio quite awhile back, but then realized that it would be a big job to install it. I've been putting it off ever since!

The problem is that radios have gotten smaller in the last few years, and the new radio was far too small to use the old mounting location. To mount it, I needed to make some sort of flange which would fit the new radio to the old hole.

The gaping hole left by the old radio
I finally got around to it. I thought about using a piece of sheet aluminum, or maybe plastic, but in the end, I am still most comfortable working in wood.  I made this flange out of a pice of plywood, and gave it a few coats of varnish, just because I like varnish.

Flange for new radio

I decided to epoxy this over the old hole.

Clamped in place
The hard part turned out to be installing the brackets which hold the radio in place. This took both of us an hour of sweaty fiddling to get them installed. But it feels good to have this vital bit of equipment finally working.

New DSC VHF installed and working
Bowsprit Anchor Snubber

This is an idea that Larry Pardey came up with a long time ago. Instead of running the anchor snubber over the anchor roller, as we have done for two years, the idea is to run it out to a block at the end of the bowsprit. This gets the snubber out of the anchor roller, and more importantly, gets it in front of the bobstay so it can't rub and chafe on it. It also exerts more leverage on the end of the bowsprit, holding the bow down, and reducing the tendency to yaw around the anchor. It also makes the snubber longer, which allows it to stretch a bit more, reducing shock.

That's the theory, anyway. We shall see how it works in practice.

View of the lead, from on deck, with Helena doing a great job holding the chain hook.

Snubber soft-shackled to the end of the bowsprit
Larry says everyone wonders about having all that force on the end of the bowsprit, but points out that a jib applies far more pressure on the bowsprit than an anchor ever could. And his bowsprit was wood, not steel.

This was another fun job that involved splicing the chain hook to the 3/4" nylon line, and making a honking big soft shackle. I love soft shackles!

If our bowsprit fall off, I'll let you know.

Fo'c'sle Reorg

Is this a real job? It took a couple of hours to do, so I think so!

Before leaving, I wanted to reorganize our fo'c'sle to make it easier to get to things we need at sea. Namely sails.

Reorganized Fo'c'sle
This is the third time I've reorganized this important space, and this time I have two years experience to work with. It's easy enough to get to anything when you are at anchor, but when you crawl forward in a nausea-inducing seaway, you want what you need to be immediately at hand.

We have a couple of light-air sails that I wanted to have instant access to: our cruising spinaker and our mizzen staysail. We also have a hank-on jib in case we lose our roller-furler jib, and a storm jib in case we find ourselves in the Southern Ocean by mistake.

They are now on the top shelf, easy to pull out, and everything else is on the second shelf. I also cleaned out some of our 'extra' lines, stored to starboard. We still have too many, probably...

Ugh! My back hurts just thinking about these jobs, but they are now crossed off our to-do list, which is looking pretty good right now. Only a few dozen more to check off, and we'll be ready to go!

Ah, the vigerous life...

Next Up: The Passage North

1 comment:

  1. John I understand that you can re register a MMSI number. No need for a new radio. I know, to late now.


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