Posted by: catamarantwooceans | April 18, 2011

The Highs and Lows of Boat Maintenance


Don’t read this if you are not interested in maintenance stuff!

 18.4.11 – Monday – I flew back to NZ and reached Opua  on the 14th. Ahead I have two weeks of preparations for the departure to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, mostly on the maintenance front. My crew for this leg will be Erez Goldberg, who lives in NZ and Volkmar, who sailed with me down from Fiji. We want to leave not later than April 30th, weather permitting, because Volkmar’s visa expires on May 1st.

Here is the maintenance record:

Engine – Part of the work was done while I was away and the bill I got by e-mail was huge and unclear. They billed me for 19.75 hours labour (?!!!?), replaced parts that were new and did not replace some that I asked them to. I’ll sort that out when David, the Yanmar agent gets back from the 5 days fishing trip he went on.

Watermaker: Mark, who works with Brett, the Electric wizard, said he could do it. He renewed the internal seals and gaskets of the pressure pump and then found some damaged parts in the mechanical drive. Those were manufactured locally at great cost. Mark assembled it all and we made a trial run. Hallelujah!  Product water coming out just fine! Mark tightened some pipe connections from which there was a small leak and then we noticed that the flow of sweet water was no longer there! A big downer!

We decided that I will do an Alkaline cleaning of the membrane during the weekend and try again.

I am also waiting for the electricians to fix the low output of the port alternator which they serviced and to see why the solar panels are not charging anymore.

 Liferaft: I had it sent to a service facility in Aucklandwith the request that they’ll send it back to coincide with my arrival. Just before leaving home I got a message that the raft needed a new over-pressure valve, without which it will be condemned, and that they had to import it fromEurope– timetable unclear. Coming to Opua I get the good news, they found a valve in stock, the raft will be ready in time.

 Doing the Alkaline cleanup I ran the port engine. Looking in the engine room later I was horrified to find it splattered with fuel and oil. In two days we are lifting the boat to paint anti-fouling and service the drives so we need the engines to be serviceable! Barry, one of the mechanics came, found a broken drain-plug in the Racor fuel prefilter. New one put in – problem solved. But he also saw some water leaking from the sea water pump… We’ll fix that when the boat come out on Wednesday for anti-fouling and sail-drive work.

 Now that Monday is upon us, technicians come to do their thing. Hanspeter Rust, the electronic technician comes to install the A.I.S. All is well until we connect it to the Raymarine chart plotter and find out that it does not give the needed RMS protocol for position. I will have to buy a dedicated, happily not expensive, G.P.S.

He also has to take back the radar that he thought he fixed but is not  really working.


Standing rigging –  They are supposed to start today!Where are they? A quick telephone call – They’ll start at 1pm. 

Sails: The newMainand the repaired jib are at Willis sail-makers and will come after the rig is done.

New dinghy – awaits at Cater Marine chandlery for the boat to go back to the water after the hardstand jobs.

Trampolines: Remember the damage on those? New ones made and installed on my last visit in January.

Mark comes to take the water-maker to his shop and tells me not to worry. He will make it work, guarantied!


Marcel, who also works for Electric Brett, specializing in Alternators is coming to see why the port alternator gives 25 amps less than the starboard one.

While all this is going on a strong south westerly wind pops out. Very quickly it peaks at 46 knots. Short, steep waves develop quickly and one can see yachties adding mooring lines in order to feel secure in the blow.

On one boat on a mooring nearby the jib is blown open by a strong gust and is starting to tear itself apart.I call the marina on VHF and inform them.

Flogging jib

At 2 pm Paul the rigger comes over. “You don’t have to say a word. I understand that the wind does not allow work on the rig”. We’ll do it when the boat is out on the hard.

It is 1500. A knock on the hull – Volkmar arrived! He has a van in which he toured all around NZ. We’ll make good use of it!

At 1600 Mark comes back with the water-maker. He says it worked fine in the shop. He re-assembles it. Now it has to prove itself on the boat.

By 1700 all is quiet on board. Things seem to go in the right direction.

There is a Yachties saying that goes: “Cruising means doing maintenance in exotic places”. I cannot but concur!



  1. Holly cow, I’m wondering what you aren’t having worked on?

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