Posted by: catamarantwooceans | October 29, 2015

Panama- October 2015 – The M word

The M word is sometimes a dirty word for the cruising sailor. When you plan cruising in San Blas with a couple of friends and find yourself stuck in Shelter Bay marina, having to haul out and wait for parts to come from the U.S – Maintenance becomes a dirty word. In spite of my repeated use of phrases like:”time is of great importance” “A.S.A.P” “urgently” in my e-mails to Marine Warehouse in Florida, from whom I ordered the parts needed for repairs, I felt that the sentiment did not sink in there.

Once we were out of the water, it made sense to do what one does in that case – paint anti-fouling and replace drive oil and seals. Greg the mechanic put us into his busy schedule and let us do almost all of the preparatory work needed prior to dismantling the drives. He came and in the course of two hours, took out the drive.

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Here he holds the defective diaphragms, which, strangely enough did not have the stainless steel bands to hold them in place. Another bad surprise was that the mount that acts as a shock absorber to the drive was found to be broken. That explained the funny noises we heard when operating that engine in high power. Since the fact was late to emerge, I did not order that part and now had to find a creative solution that would not take a week to materialize. We decided to try and repair the broken part, using epoxy glue that was good for both metal and rubber and at the same time contact the local Yanmar dealer to see whether they had it in stock; in parallel – Gili would buy one in Israel and bring it over on November 2nd.

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By the way – our parts arrived in the airport on Friday’s early evening; customs were already gone for the week-end and would come back Monday, so we expect to get them Monday afternoon.

Our yard neighbor, a French single-hander named Jean-Luc, on an aluminum monohull was launched; all we could do is look at the scene in envy.

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We got friendly with him and invited him to join us for a lunch and a dinner. Jean Luc, a Frenchman, does not drink alcohol, neither tea or coffee! In the meantime the marina people sanded our hulls in preparation for painting. An optimistic launching would be Wednesday – I’m writing this on Saturday.

Monday – parts arrived at 1500 just as heavy rain and wind came; too late for Greg to start. We’ll see him tomorrow.

Greg worked many hours for two more days, with Danny and me helping him along with non professional jobs, like opening bolts, handing tools and bringing the man cold water. On Wednesday morning it seemed that we’d be done by 1100, but then the new engine mounts on the starboard engine refused to align with the holes in the structure and when, after struggling and succeeding – it was found out that the thread there was damaged and had to be repaired using a special tool. At 1400 the job was concluded and we had celebratory beers.

Danny and I continued working until and a bit after dark, to connect all the lines and pipes that were disconnected during the operation. The marina people finished painting; launching was planned to occur Thursday at midday.

While all this was going on I had some trouble with my bank. All the unplanned expenditure came up to my credit limit without me noticing. That brought about a lot of stress (imagine Gili flying to NYC on the way to Panama unable to use her credit card or me trying to pay the marina fee unsuccessfully) A 0200 call to the bank in Israel, 0900 their time, fixed that problem.

29.10.15 – Thursday – At 0630 we started working, installing the propellers and painting the drive legs with a suitable antifouling. I went to town to use the ATM, verifying that the bank did their job right, a bit of shopping for food and back on a taxi, to find “Two Oceans” already in the cradle. At 1115 she was lowered into the water. We started the engines, inspected the engine rooms to see that all was well and motored to tie to a dock, where we’ll give her a good wash, fill up water, use the internet and then GO OVERNIGHT STRAIGHT TO SAN BLAS.

It was a crazy week, the sort of no sailor wants to experience; hopefully it’s over now and we would have some fun, peace and quiet, with no need to exclaim from time to time:”WHAT THE M!”

Next post would probably come from Providencia Island on our way north. Until then – Adios from Danny and Miki on Two Oceans.


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