Posted by: catamarantwooceans | January 9, 2017

Maintenance N+1


2.1.17 – Monday – Morning: came into marina, met Stanly and started the moves towards the canal crossing. Afternoon: Thorsten, who is a master of all trades marine, came over to discuss the work I wanted him to do. Together (him doing the actual hauling) we brought the solar panel that was delivered to me from the office. This is the list: 1. Install new solar panel. 2. Replace freezer’s thermostat and check operation. 3. Check starboard starting battery – if good it means that the starter itself needs attention. 4. Repair faulty starboard engine RPM instrument. 4. Check windlass operation, since at times it does not work in the UP direction. 5.Replace compass light. 6. Replace broken starting bypass switch port engine. 7. Check the Link 2000 electrical system controller. If un-repairable recommend a replacement. Thorsten is a very methodical man; he will check his schedule and if unable to accomplish all the work himself he would enlist Rudy to do part of it.

I also have a few jobs: install a lever clamp which locks the cover of the outboard motor. (That part was ordered before we decided to buy a new outboard – a four stroke 6 HP Yamaha which should arrive around January 19th). Another important job is to measure the stack-pack so that a sailmaker in Israel would make one for me; the local sailmakers, April and Cain are fully booked until who knows. I also need to repair the broken Dan-buoy, a task I think I shall relegate to the fiberglass-epoxy master Ramon. Last but not least is give the boat a good cleaning; For that I employed Augusto, who works on a nearby Lagoon 400.

You may remember that last time I was on the hard in Shelter Bay marina work was done on the bows and especially on the starboard hull, where ingress of water into the forward crash box when sailing hard was evident for quite some time. After the fast ride of yesterday I was anxious to see dry bilge over there. I opened the inspection port and found out to my chagrin that some water did come in. The common wisdom regarding bilge water is to taste it to determine whether it is sweet or salty. I don’t remember ever doing it in that location, being sure that the source was the sea. Now, for some reason I decided to do the taste test. Surprise! Sweet water! So where did it come from? A mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes. To be continued.

Not in the mood to cook, I went for dinner in the marina’s restaurant and then watched an episode of “Twin Peaks”, a TV series I liked very much when it aired so many years ago.

3.1.17 – Tuesday – Thorsten came to work in the morning; with me playing apprentice he tackled what may well be the hardest part of the electrician job and that is placing the cables from the location of the new solar panel to the place the controller would be installed. He tried drilling the Targa but it was too thick. I suggested taking off the old GPS antenna, which is no longer in use and through the opening behind it insert the cables.

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The insertion took a very long time, because the cables were supposed to pass through a plastic pipe which was congested with all sort of wires, most of them belonging to systems taken off the boat in the past (horn, cockpit loudspeakers, lamps etc.). To pass the cables from where they entered the hull, Thorsten had to squeeze into the small space behind the starboard engine; I couldn’t resist taking his picture there.

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While he was there, we noticed that some nuts in the rudder system were heavily corroded; here’s another thing to take care of! The cables took a full working day. Just before he left, I asked Thorsten to remove the starboard starting battery (my back did not allow me that operation) which I suspected of being bad. We looked at it trying to understand its “age”. On one of its sides the words:”Made in India” could be seen. Checking my blog I found out that this battery was bought in the Andamans on January 1st 2013. So it is time to retire it. Tomorrow I’ll go to “Casa De Las Baterias” and buy a new one.

4.1.17 – Wednesday – Another working day. Remember the water ingress into the starboard hull? Thorsten came to take a look and suggested that the culprit was a stainless steel pipe up front, which on close inspection was found to have a gap of about one millimeter between its flange and the deck. I  sealed it with 3M 5200 silicon and now hope that that was the end of the story. A representative of the Canal Authorization came to check the boat. After we filled a few forms and the man left, I called one of the taxi drivers I know to come and take me to town. The first priority was the list Thorsten gave me: cables, circuit breakers and various nuts and bolts for the solar panel. First we stopped at the Casa de las baterias where buying the battery was a straightforward business; if you bring the old one you get a 10% off. Next we wandered from one electrical supply shop to another and after the fourth one I despaired and asked Olmedo, the driver to take me back to the marina empty handed. On the way we entered “Novey’s”, where I bought the bolts and neglected to ask about the cables and surprise! They did have some but I was not sure whether they were the right ones. I asked the vendor to give me a small piece to show Thorsten who gave his blessing to it; so tomorrow I’ll go back to town.

5.1.17 – Thursday – I did all the necessary shopping and took a taxi back to the marina. Big progress was made in the solar panel project. I bought a 25 amps solar panel controller from Rudy; it’ll take on the three panels we would have on board and is supposed to be 40% more efficient. Thorsten came only in the afternoon and worked until 1830.

6.1.17 – Friday – More work on the solar panel (wiring, installing the controller etc.)plus putting the new starter battery in place and replacing the thermostat of the freezer. The salon looks as a building site; not possible to enter and clean.

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7.1.17 – Saturday – Finally the solar panel was put in place and connected to the controller.

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Together with the new controller the solar panels seem to provide a healthy amount of electricity. At one point when the clouds disappeared for a few minutes the panels gave 15 amps; nice. Thorsten also replaced the wire leading to the freezer controller and put in it a breaker instead of the regular fuse that was heating terribly all the time. Still it seems that the freezer is working continuously so maybe its controller needs to be replaced too. Rudy also came by to deal with the starboard RPM gauge. “Replace it” he said. There might be a used one for sale on one off the yachts where they are getting a new engine; we’ll see next week.

Now came the time for cleaning the boat. Augusto was not available on the Sabbath so Thorsten directed me to a yacht called “Rollercoaster” on which two ladies, Jenny, the mother and Fill, the daughter would be willing to give the required service. Jenny was the one doing most of the work and she did a great job.

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Thorsten came in the evening with the invoice; he worked 28 hours on the boat so you can guess I had to pay a lot of money.

Now that the work n the boat was finished I would be free to go out to San Blas. Michael Ben Eli, who sailed with me from the Society Islands to American Samoa will join in the next few days. Gili, Yossi – my cousin and his wife Ester will arrive on the 16th and on the 18th we shall cross the canal.



  1. Hi glad you made it back to your boat safely and you’ve got all your work done. You mentioned your frezzer was running all the time after changing thermastat same thing happened with us had to sail back and put a different thermostat in. With it running all the time wasn’t good for the batteries!

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