14 January 2010

Random happenings...

So for my first post, I figured I’d try and round up some of the random things and to-dos that have occupied our time for the last few weeks.

Rigging inspection. One of the most critical systems on a sailboat is the rigging. A failure here means a loss of our primary propulsion, or worse. So, a thorough inspection was in order. In addition, a spreader light fixture (shines down on the deck) was in need of replacement. Tools gathered, checklist in hand, and crack safety crew assembled, up the mast I went. Head plumbing. Something no one ever really wants to talk about. The plumbing in our boat was old, hoses cracking, things growing where they ought not to. Obviously, this was in serious need of some work. So instead of trying to repair and replace it piecemeal, I pulled the entire mess out. Some parts were sterilized and reused, others were simply replaced. In any case, below is the end result: Wiring. Yet another vital system, we rely on our electrical system for many crucial needs. It runs our bilge pumps, starts our engine, provides lighting, powers our navigation instruments, and so many other things. While the boat's wiring system did not seem insufficient, it was deemed wise to go through it all and ensure everything was in proper working order. Most was just inspected, cleaned, and new terminals installed where they appeared sketchy, but a few modifications were made.This switch was added to enable us to start our engine off any of our five batteries we choose. In combination with two 3-way switches, one for each bank, we can start the engine and run critical systems off any single battery, or any combination of the five available. Also, one battery was selected to be used solely for starting the engine. The only thing that can draw energy from it is the starter, and it can be charged by any or all of the three charging systems available: engine alternator, shore power, or solar energy. This ensures we will always be able to start our engine, even if we completely drain our house batteries.

In the area of solar energy, Southern Cross' batteries are maintained by solar power. Two 34 watt flexible photovoltaic solar panels are used to keep the batteries topped up when not running the engine or plugged into shore power
. Unfortunately, the solar panels were inherited in less than optimal condition.Luckily, Darcy was up to finishing the task I set about three months ago: sewing the panels back together. Pushing a needle through two layers of thick vinyl, an eight inch of dense foam, then hitting the holes from previous stitching in the plastic layer is no easy task, as I'm sure she'll tell you...

Settee cushions. Okay, so this isn't a vital system in desperate need of repair, but it has bothered me since I purchased the boat. Also, I have never used a sewing machine, so I figured this was as good a time as any to learn. The old cushions were covered in some rough green fabric along the lines of that indoor/outdoor carpeting you see being used as doormats. It was beginning to split at the seams and let foam escape, in addition to holding dust so well when you set something on it a small puff of fine particles would float away. So, I had to fix it.
Shown above are the new cushion covers (left) compared to the old ones (right). A simple draw cord was installed on the hidden end, so they can be removed and washed when necessary. This dramatically cut the dust problem, and no more foam bits scattered around the cabin! They also lighten up the cabin, making it seem more spacious.

Okay, that's enough for now, we'll do another post about more random tasks later...

No comments:

Post a Comment