Tag Archives: frustration

Start Day

Well, the Blue Planet Odyssey has begun at last. Jimmy left the dock first, to preside over the starting line (but this is not a race, right?), after which he heads north to show his boat at the Miami Boat Show.  He hopes to catch the fleet later in Tahiti.

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Then Tahawus, the boat with the two kids that will be sailing with us into the Pacific.

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Then Chapter Two, the other catamaran in the BPO.

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Next out was Ransom, a Hinckley 49.

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Then Gypsie left, but they are the boat that is hoping they can start in March, when Jimmy sets out to catch the fleet.

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Last out was Gusto, our compatriot from Belfast, Maine.

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Left behind at the dock was Joyful, who now also hopes to start in March.  They are looking for experienced crew.  Contact me if you are qualified and interested in extended sailing!

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And Imagine, withdrawn due to health issues.

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And us, with both mechanic and electrician spending their Saturday doing a lot of swearing and trying to get us going.  Supposedly both engines are now working.  We will be giving them some exercise tomorrow.  There are still some wiring issues that need to be sorted out though.

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The progress of the boats can be seen at the following page of the Blue Planet Odyssey web site:

http://cornellsailing.com/sail-the-odyssey/blue-planet-odyssey/follow-the-rally/track-the-boats/

The positions are not “real time” in the sense that the boats do not keep their trackers reporting constantly.  If you click on an individual boat it will tell you the time of their last position report.

The three stuck-here crews went out to dinner together tonight.  It was a nice way to simply acknowledge that, well, “Here we are,” each for different reasons and each with different plans, but all part of a voyaging community.

Still Counting the Days

Four Days to Scheduled Start

Let’s start with the good news. I found the cause of last night’s alarm. It was a faulty engine-stop button/switch that we replaced last month. Easily fixed. And not a sign that the boat is bewitched or cursed.

The bad news is that the cylinder head for our port engine rebuild is not available (backordered from Japan). So the old head must be sent to Miami to be reconditioned. This of course adds days that we don’t have. We tried to rent a car to drive it to Miami, but we found that there weren’t any rental cars available today in Key West. So it is shipped overnight. Our mechanic got the shop in Miami to promise to move it to the front of their queue. But I think it is safe to say that our departure will not occur on Saturday. I’m gradually coming to terms with that thought.

We are on the hard again, so the saildrives can be worked on. Frustrating, but lucky that we could schedule this on short notice.  Tim guides a repaired saildrive back into the engine room:

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Two Days to Scheduled Start

No chance that we will make the Saturday start. The cylinder head that was sent to Miami was found to have a crack. Luckily our mechanic had the foresight to also sent our old engine head (from the starboard engine, where we bought a new one). It was inspected today and passed muster; it should be back to the mechanic tomorrow. With only a little luck we will get back in the water Monday. Then we need to give the engines a thorough workout before we leave the area. If everything works (does it ever…?) we might start chasing the fleet Wednesday or Thursday.

Nice photos of the Blue Planet Odyssey boats/people/preparation are on the Cruising World magazine web site at http://www.cruisingworld.com/countdown-blue-planet-odyssey-rally/?image=0.

And a shot of the other boats at the marina, in formal attire with their signal flags.

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On the Hard

The past week on the hard has in many ways been our most challenging week so far, and unfortunately the end is not yet in sight. The repairs to our hull are nearly complete — just waiting for the last coat of interior paint. The work looks good (too good, in that the surface has a nice gloss that is long gone from the rest of the hull).

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What’s been difficult about the repair is the epoxy and fiberglass dust within our living quarters.  But worse, we were parked next to a large steel (or possibly aluminum?) work boat where they were grinding the bottom and welding on cooling tubes. For our first days on the hard, with the wind blowing from the east, the noise was annoying (along with the Navy jets constantly flying low overhead). Then the wind shifted to the north, and their grinding dust covered our boat – ugly and black and into everything. We tried to ignore it, but it became intolerable.

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We complained to the yard manager, who reluctantly moved us to a new parking spot, while muttering, “It’s a boatyard. That’s the gamble you take at a boatyard.” Not sure what’s going to show up on our bill…

While stuck here, we’ve done LOTS of projects on the boat.

Sail cover removed to sailmaker for repairs
Sail cover removed to sailmaker for repairs
Replace cracked 'lenses' on hatches
Replacing cracked ‘lenses’ on hatches
Secure handrails on transoms
Better mounts for handrails on transoms
Repair chips in transom, and reinforce cleats
Repair chips in transom, and reinforce cleats
Plan for lightning protection at base of mast
Plan for lightning protection at base of mast
Chart plotter sent to manufacturer for 'recall'
Chart plotter sent to manufacturer for recall/fix
Cleaning/painting props
Cleaning/painting props
Fixing switch to electric winch
Fixing switch for electric winch
Making fender boards
Making fender boards
Making dinghy cover
Making dinghy cover
Outboard mount to carry O/B off of dinghy when at sea
Outboard mount to carry O/B off of dinghy when at sea
Rigging control lines for new hydro generator
Rigging control lines for new hydro generator
Remounting WiFi antenna
Remounting WiFi antenna

And more…

Yesterday we thought we were down to the last time-sensitive project — getting a mechanic to diagnose why our starboard engine (the “new” one) was increasingly difficult to start, and belched black smoke when it did finally start. The mechanic did a cylinder compression test while we watched, and one cylinder was bad. [The compression was below the point where diesel will ignite, but close enough that once the engine started on the other 2 cylinders and began to heat up, the bad cylinder would kick in.] He asserted that the engine has more hours on it than we were led to believe, and it needs serious work. We agreed to have him remove the engine so he could work on it in his shop. Pulling the engine through the hatch is no small feat!

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Tim and Bill watched as the mechanic pulled the engine apart, and demonstrated a long list of problems with it. What we thought was a nearly-new engine needs to be rebuilt! And…some of the parts are on back order from Japan. Tim has been on the phone calling all over the country for parts. We asked about going back in the water, and installing the fixed engine without another haul. Nope; not a good idea to have our saildrive transmission hanging loose, disconnected from an engine.

So…time to recalibrate our expectations about getting off the hard.