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November 3 - Plugging Right Along

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  • Skip Gundlach
    November 3 - Plugging Right Along Those of you who have been watching the weather are aware of what has come to be called Hurricane Noel. The recent activity
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3 1:21 PM
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      November 3 - Plugging Right Along

      Those of you who have been watching the weather are aware of what
      has come to be called Hurricane Noel. The recent activity of that
      storm has made the weather in the area where we're currently
      shivering a bit messy for running down the Chesapeake, so we
      didn't go when we thought we would.

      Instead, we're enjoying Solomons, such as we can. We've met
      another Morgan 46'er, rafting up for dinner with him and his wife
      and 4 children. Just another confirmation of how marvelous our
      boats are, we 5 adults and 4 kids fit comfortably, if cozily,
      into our salon, where we thoroughly enjoyed each other and
      comparing each other's similarities and differences over fried
      chicken and various salad side dishes.

      Their boat has a full complement of new sails and also the Strong
      Track System which we've ordered for ours, so I got a look at it
      installed on his boat. He'd been kind enough to scope out our
      eventual anchorage the day before we arrived, so we knew just
      where to hang out our hook.

      As we arrived, we chatted up some other sailboats in the
      anchorage, and they reported good holding, so we hooked firmly in
      Back Creek, just past Zaniser's Yacht Club, over about 12 feet of
      water. We'd left only a bit earlier, as our anchorage off Drum
      Point was only about 4 miles away. As is their custom, the ladies
      slept in, but when we upped our anchors, both were very clean,
      and they'd had a chance to shed the remains of the Cambridge and
      Oxford goo that had hardened on them. Having now deployed our
      "Shock and Awe" anchor (described by a knowledgeable fellow in
      St. Petersburg as huge overkill for our applications) and rode
      twice in the last few days, I am finding a bit better system for
      both retrieval and launch - both semi-hand-done - of the second
      one. Perhaps I'll use it often, now. In any event, it was nice to
      have a clean anchor, and chain, again!

      Our guide lives in the area, and had the ability to give me a
      ride around to several shopping-type places the next day, which
      was Halloween. One of the places was to try to find worming
      medicine for Portia, our rescued cat. I'll let Lydia fill you in
      on the details of all that, but we didn't succeed. Prescription,
      only. I also tried to get stainless steel rivets, to no avail.
      One of our projects will be to redo our rail system (replaced the
      lifelines) as I'm not satisfied that the setscrews will suffice
      when push comes to shove. I'll order those from a commercial
      supplier and have them sent to one of the places we're headed.
      However, the rest of our shopping was fruitful. I got yet more
      alternator belts as part of that, of which more anon.

      As is my wont whenever we're standing still, I got into various
      projects. One of them was to install the Icom M-802 SSB/Ham radio
      which had been returned from the factory where it had a refit to
      address voice clipping - a symptom which manifests as someone
      hearing only the very first part of a transmission I'd make. In
      the course of getting to that location, and getting a sliding
      panel out from behind a chain support, I dropped the main
      instrument hinged/drop-down panel. As it had the support chains,
      it only went a few inches before it stopped - but the same
      symptom as had been seen when we were on the way out of Barnegat
      Light reared its head again: the GPS would not power up.

      As we were just about to go on an overnight - in the place where
      the universal recommendation is to not sail at night - down the
      Chesapeake to Norfolk, in one jump, this was not a good sign.
      Those who have been following this adventure for a while will
      recall that the solution to the problem before was that the cable
      which powered the unit, the "plug," if you will, somehow wasn't
      making a good connection.

      The first time I'd encountered this, I'd cured it by repetitively
      connecting and disconnecting the plug - effectively, burnishing
      the contacts. That worked for quite a while. Then, in the
      Barnegat incident over a month ago, I'd not been able to make it
      self-repair on that basis. So, I took it apart and cleaned and
      burnished all the interior connections and put it back together.
      No joy.

      Conversation with the service and support folks at Raymarine led
      to our sending it back. On examination, it was "no problem
      found" - it powered up and found satellites and did all the other
      stuff asked of it. From that I concluded I must therefore have a
      power supply problem. Since I was seeing boat voltage at the plug
      end, my assumption was that it must have been a poor connection
      robbing it (the poor connection causing a voltage drop) of the
      required supply.

      So, I started at the control panel and went through each and
      every connection and either redid it or burnished,
      corrosion-controlled and reassembled them. Still no joy when I
      attached the plug to the unit. Hm.

      Well, if everything else is as good as it gets, the problem has
      to be in the plug itself. Shortening the story, I took my probe
      and modified the shape a bit. Bingo. Power up, and, until the
      latest drop, it performed flawlessly.

      Back to the present, however, no amount of cleaning or tweaking
      the plug made any difference. Talking, yet again, to Raymarine,
      had the support folks saying it was in the unit, not the boat,
      where the problem lay. Not satisfied with that answer, and very
      reluctant to send the unit back yet again, I asked about the
      cable itself. Oops. Too old. Can't even buy them any more.

      Hm. I just bought another fish finder. The old one uses a
      different power supply than the new one. Just maybe?? Sure
      enough, they're the same. Even better, when I powered up the fish
      finder (the old one - I've not yet installed the new one), it
      lit, of course. And...

      Taa Daaah! So did the GPS when I stuck it on that plug. Not
      surprisingly, the fish finder, when powered with the GPS cable,
      didn't power up. So...

      Plugging right along.

      I replaced the plug of the GPS with the one from the old
      fishfinder. I'd presumed that doing so would resolve the GPS
      problem. HAH! No such luck. You wouldn't believe the color of
      the air when I saw that it would not come up. I was just about
      to take the old plug upstairs and connect it temporarily to the
      line I'd cut in removing the plug to the fishfinder when I
      recalled my test unit.

      Connecting the OLD plug - the one I'd presumed bad - to these
      tiny wires (not capable of carrying nearly any current at all)
      resulted in a successful power-up of the unit. More blue air as
      I contemplated replacing the wire from the circuit breaker to the
      unit. Looking at it, it hit me. There's a fuse in the line!
      I'd inspected the fuse, and it was good, of course (else, how
      would I have the proper voltage at the end?), but not the
      terminals in the fuse holder.

      Sure enough, they were black. A quick dressing with some emery
      cloth and putting it back together resulted in instant power-on
      for the GPS. A couple of hours later, I've finally stopped
      kicking myself for overlooking that obvious potential for a
      voltage drop, but I sure wish I'd thought of it sooner!!! All is
      well with the GPS and all connected to it, including my laptop's
      navigation program. OY!

      I'll also install the new fishfinder, of course, but that will
      have to wait for another day, as we need to get out of here while
      it's still light. Happily, I've connected the new (well, new to
      us) Garmin replacement GPS at the helm as well. That Garmin
      supplies the feed to the VHF radio's panic button - but I'll also
      be able to feed that information to the new fishfinder - which,
      because the Garmin GPS has a mount from the previous Garmin GPS,
      it was also plug and play.

      Another project had to do with the engine room and its myriad of
      things to do. The first of them was to replace the belt I'd put
      on before with one of the new ones. The new ones were different
      than the ones which have been disintegrating, and so far, in our
      running of the main engine to make hot water, which, of course,
      also runs the alternator, the belt is very much cooler and gives
      some evidence that it might solve our problem. In the end, I
      think I'll wind up taking the main pulley off and having it
      resurfaced. That will not only clean up the groove but make it
      larger, to match the pulley on the alternator, which will lead to
      longer belt life and longer water pump life. Given that water
      pumps on these engines are unavailable as other than salvage from
      a removed engine, that's got a pretty high priority!

      While I was in there, I also changed the oil. Much to my
      surprise, the oil which went back in took another 2 quarts beyond
      what it had before, despite the same amount coming out as in the
      past. Research in my various mailing lists suggests I have the
      right length replacement dipstick (see a prior log about how I
      broke the last one), so that one has me scratching my head. In
      any event, the engine room is happier for my time in there!

      In the meantime, we've enjoyed the area, having a couple of
      dinghy rides to shore, done shopping and laundry and toured the
      museum. Like the one in St. Michaels, this is a transported,
      out-of-service lighthouse, and a local joy.

      In deference to the coming storm, a couple of nights ago we moved
      onto a mooring ball for the two nights before we left. In the
      end, I don't think it would have been any difficulty, but Lydia's
      mom was buying and was more comfortable with that, so who were we
      to argue?? With the ball came all the Zaniser's Yacht Club
      privileges - hot showers, laundry, bikes and the like. So, we
      behaved a little like more prosperous cruisers than we normally
      might. Truth be known, however, it was actually prompted by the
      entirety of the anchorage other than us making lots of
      dinghy-borne visitations between themselves with lots of loud
      conversations, and, then, suddenly, each and every one of the
      anchored boats pulling up their anchors and moving to mooring
      balls. That was enough to spook the ladyfolk, and off we went.
      I've not minded.

      Later today, we're off, overnight, to Hampton Roads, where we'll
      meet up with another Morgan fellow cruiser, the attorney who set
      up the trust fund for us when we had our wreck. From there we'll
      go to Norfolk, where we'll return the borrowed Gunkholer's Guide
      to the Chesapeake (we never got to use it) and the Washington
      Guide (same deal), and prepare for our jaunt down the ICW to miss
      Cape Hatteras.



      Morgan 461 #2
      SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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      "You are never given a wish without also being given the power
      to make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
      "There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
      its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
      (Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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