A Kiwi couple's cruising adventures on America's Great Loop and around the coast of New Zealand

Friday, 1 June 2012

Ease and appreciation

One of the bloggers I am following finished off his latest post with a saying: “If things come too easy, they’re not appreciated as much”. On that basis our imminent arrival in the USA to start Looping will be the most appreciated thing we will have done in many a long time!!

Since my last posting, the well-oiled planning machine has found itself lurching from one crisis to the next whilst plummeting at an ever increasing speed towards D-day (Departure day) - now a mere 11 days away. Firstly, while taking our friends Charlie and Pauline out for a day final trip on Kindred Spirit, we discovered that the propeller shaft seals (which I had replaced last year while the engine was out) were leaking….profusely. Investigation resulted in the discovery that the engine was misaligned to the point it had destroyed the new seals ability to prevent the boat from remaining watertight – which is not a good thing when you are trying to sell it or plan to go away for a long time with it still in the water. After several weeks “discussion” with Cummins (who had put the engine back in after fixing it last year) accepted their “oops” and appointed a local engineering company to remedy both the alignment and the leak. This required the boat to be lifted out of the water and was finally completed yesterday. For the engineering-oriented amongst you, the alignment was out by 3mm sideways and 1mm vertically and 11/1000ths of an inch out of parallel, so the propeller shaft was rotating oval by a significant amount. (funny how a metric country still uses thousandths of an inch as a minor engineering measurement….but I digress!). This not only distorted the seals to the point that they became useless, it also stretched the polymer coupling between the transmission and propeller shaft to the point that it had to be replaced. Cummins refused to pay for it, citing that it was old and was probably failing due to wear and tear as much as misalignment. In the absence of sufficient time to argue, and to prevent further delay and the additional cost of keeping KS out of the water, I coughed up the $560 for the coupling and my respect for Cummins and their engines has now declined even further. I am now no longer as disappointed as I was that Silverton took the Volvo engine option instead of Cummins, when they built “Loopy Kiwi”.

The only upside was that we got a good look at KS below the waterline and could see that everything was still hunky dory before we depart. We also got to replace the zinc anodes so that she stays protected from corrosion while we are gone (or till she sells, anyway). We also got to check on how the Propspeed on the running gear was holding up after a year of immersion, and it looked like it had just been applied. Great stuff that Propspeed.

However also during this time, the sale we had for Carolyn’s Kindy, timed superbly to coincide settlement with our departure, fell over with no alternative offers in hand. The resultant panic in setting up a management structure in absentia (while we ain’t here) has preoccupied Carolyn to the extent that Loop planning, and any excitement or anticipation thereof has become quite secondary and somewhat inconsequential. At the time of writing this, a contingency (sort of) plan is (sort of) in place, but we’re not holding our breaths while we wait for it to be resolved completely. Not yet, anyway.

It’s a long weekend this weekend…Queens birthday, where we celebrate the birth of our Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II (yep – she is ours as well!!), even though it’s not the actual date. It is considered the last boating weekend before winter and this year it’s forecast to be a nice one so we would normally be off in Kindred Spirit with all our boating buddies to some quiet anchorage to relax. Instead, tomorrow we will be having a major garden cleanup with our Gardener. Last year when we did this, it resulted in 1.2 tonnes of garden waste being taken to the tip in Woody’s big red Van. If there was ever a reason to live on a boat, this is one of the best. I hate gardening with a passion….you cut it all down and it just grows back again (which is why we have a Gardener).

On a positive note, I have ordered our AGLCA burgee, joined up with BoatUs, ordered the inverter from Amazon.com to be delivered to the boat and have qualified for an Active Captain hat. For the uninitiated, you can only get a hat if you supply information to the website, such as anchorage info, updating existing data and writing reviews, for which you get points. When you get 250 points, you qualify for a hat. The hat tells people like Marina owners that you might write a lot of reviews - so they better treat you good! That's the theory, anyway.

I can’t help but wonder if perhaps we should have allowed more time to prepare and so avoided the last minute crises which will have us feeling that there is still unfinished business when we fly out on June 13th. However logic tells me that even if we had had more time, the circumstances would probably be no different then to what they are now.

1 comment:

  1. As you have found out, active captain is a great resourse. We use it daily to pick the next day cruise. I even use it while cruising to change itinerary in route. Have fun on the loop. We are about 2/3rds. complete.

    John Sagel
    SEAS 2 DAY