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

Sunday, 7 December 2014

And the winner is... #2

Another post for which I had already used the title!

However there is a winner for the "Freddie" brain teaser.....and the prize goes to Chris.
Yes, it is a Mercury, so Freddie is the obvious choice of name. For anyone still puzzled, Google Queen (the band) and see who their lead singer was.

Chris tells me  is also the proud owner of a Rickenbaker 12 string, the same model that was owned by George Harrison (who was the proud owner of the second one ever made!), and was first used by him in the Beatles hit "I call your name" and later in "a hard days night"

Chris' prize is a  holiday aboard Loopy Kiwi around the cruising grounds of the Hauraki Gulf. All he has to do is get to New Zealand to collect it, and bring his Rickenbaker with him so I can have a play with it!

Monday, 1 December 2014

The same, but different #2

In the absence of any postings on this blog to the contrary, I would have to forgive any readers (assuming I still have some) for thinking that Loopy Kiwi has been abandoned for the past 5 months over winter. However, again, it is quite the opposite and since the Admiral rediscovered her love of Bridge and attends the local club 3 or 4 times a week, I have been travelling down to our marina and staying aboard from Thursdays till Saturday or Sunday ....pottering about and tinkering with things as one does over winter. The Admiral often comes down after bridge on the Friday and will stay, particularly if there is a social event on nearby. Other than one trip out with our son and his family (which I will come to later) the stays are on the marina itself - the weather hasn't been conducive to winter boating this year.

Which brings me to the title of this post, "the same but different" (which I see I used once before way back at the beginning, hence the #2). When we first planned our Great Loop adventure, we had several ideas what we would do with the boat "post Loop". We could bring it home, sell it over there, or keep it over there. By the time we actually bought LK, we were pretty well settled on her staying in the USA and becoming our holiday home to which we would commute each year during the northern summer (our winter). The rest of the year she could reside in a heated shed, just as she had under her previous ownership and we would live in a "lock up and leave" dwelling over our summer. We intended that we would keep this up until we could no longer manage the 8000 mile journey to meet our boat where we last left her and, as previously documented, this situation came to pass last January on our return to New Zealand. The rest is all history and that's where the heading comes in. The "same" is that we still have LK and we live in an apartment we can leave without worry. The "different" is we don't have to trek 8000 miles to the boat...we are there in 30 minutes. In the 12 months we have owned the apartment, we have actually stayed 174 nights on LK, so I guess we're getting the use out of her.

Don't get me wrong, I am still highly disappointed that we never got to finish the Loop and leave the boat in the USA as our winter escape, but the pain is easing as time goes by and we get to use LK so much more than we would have with plan A.

Hand in hand with use, of course, is the need for maintenance. When we bought LK the engines had done 225 hours - they now have 738. The genset had done 340 hours - it now has 680. The raw water pumps had been marked as impellers replaced in may 2010. So I figured that the 3 tenants of my engine room... the 2 Volvo brothers, Stan and Pete and little Jenny Kohler should get a serious birthday. Our son, Shawn, and his family were scheduled to visit in September and we were planning to stay on the boat and take them out for a week (we actually have more beds on the boat than in our apartment). In August I asked the local marine engineering company to give me an estimate to:

For Jenny (the Kohler genset....get it?)
Change the oil and oil filters
Replace the fuel filters
Replace the raw water impeller

For Stan and Pete (Volvo...the main engines, starboard and port)

Replace the Fuel filters (6 of)
Replace transmission oil
Replace the raw water impellers.

Now, I knew replacing Stan's impeller was going to be a poop of a job, as it is buried at the far side of the engine between it and the fuel tank, with only a tiny space to work. This is why I gave them all of the easy jobs as well, figuring around $1500 worth of work might be more attractive than "just do the poop job". They told me they would get back to me in a couple of days, however, by the time Shawn and family turned up a month later, I hadn't heard a dickey bird from them and we headed off for our week cruising without the service being done. As you'd expect, and according to Murphy's law, on day 3 Jenny suddenly stopped and we found she was no longer pumping water. This left us no alternative but to go home early and stay on the marina for the rest of their holiday. This turned out to be not so bad as the weather turned awful the day after we got home anyway. Naturally, it was Jenny's raw water impeller that had failed, and to this day I have not heard back from the engineering company with an estimate for the work, so I decided we would do it ourselves. Replacing Jenny's impeller was relatively easy....finding the sheared off blades not quite so easy. They had in fact travelled  up into the heat exchanger, so I had to strip that down to ensure none of the bits could block it off.

It also made me very nervous about the state of Stan and Pete's impellers as they were supposedly replaced at the same time as Jenny's had been. So I decided we would not go anywhere until they had been replaced. Me and my mate Charlie set up a plan for him to come down and stay in November for a week while we changed the impellers and then haul LK out to clean and antifoul (bottom paint) for the coming season. I also planned to re-caulk the moulding that covers the joint between the hull and topsides (which leaked) while she was out on the hardstand. In the meantime I did all the easy stuff. November arrived, along with Charlie and we gave ourselves 2 days to replace the impellers, before haulout on the 3rd day. Pete's replacement took about 2 hours.

Pete's pump
It could've been quicker, but it was new territory for us and we went very carefully, mindful that Stan's pump was not nearly as accessible.

Stan's pump behind there

Stan's pump under there
All this stuff had to come out
In fact to access it, we had to remove all the batteries from in front of the engine, the belt covers off the engine and a stanchion that holds up the floor. Then all the work had to be done from the front of the pump body using flashlights and a mirror to see what we were doing. I won't go into all the trials and tribulations of 13 hours of getting the old impeller out. Suffice to say that the heritage of anyone who had anything to do with the design of a Volvo TAMD74 or a Silverton 453 was questioned extensively. Even the local guru of engineers at the marina (not the ones I asked to quote me) had come, looked, shook his head and walked away saying he had no idea how we were going to get it out. (He later offered me and Charlie a job when we took the old impeller up to show him that we had actually managed to extract it ourselves). Happily both impellers were in dire need of replacement and this justified the hardships we had gone to. However there will be some work done on having a purpose built tool for getting the impeller out in future.

LK was hauled out the following day and we were pleased to see that there was still some antifoul that we put on last year, despite the insistence of the paint supplier that we hadn't applied enough. The propspeed on the running gear was also in good condition and we decided to leave it alone until the next haulout in 18 months time. The old silicone was scraped out of the hull moulding, where it was obviously doing a BAD job, and while we had the scaffolding there to do it, we gave the hull and topsides a cut and polish.

So she's now back in the water and ready for summer cruising, and we intend to go back up to the Bay of Islands for a couple of months. All we need now is some decent weather.

Here's a brain teaser for you. The only other engine on LK is Freddie. He doesn't live in the engine room, but out on the landing board (swim platform) as it is his job to power the dinghy. See if you can figure out how he got his name.