Friday, February 25, 2011

Busy Boaties Embarking Upon A Magical Mystery Tour Among Other Things

With only 2 months to go until we plan to leave Townsville, the pace of boat work has gone into a higher gear. 

I measured, planned and designed shelves for our wet-locker. Rene cut the wood for me, then I sanded and painted it. Ren then helped out attaching the supports (he is way more thorough than me - I was happy with the screws poking out a little but he went and redid it so it was perfect). Now the wet locker fits heaps more in it! We no longer have to carry our diving gear, spare buckets, and dinghy pump in old milk-crates on deck (slowly getting damaged in the elements). In fact, a lot of the stuff we used to carry on deck can fit in the new and improved wet locker!
The Original Wet Locker (left) New and Improved Wet Locker (right)
I've been quite focused on making Anima more seaworthy - that is, thinking of ways to make her more ready for being at sea, more quickly. Having dedicated shelves in areas that were originally just big spaces that things were thrown into, means that there will be less clutter (if Rene actually followed the system!) and less to worry about before setting off on a sail. Also continuing to secure things down so that they don't fly about while sailing is something I've been working on. I sewed up this cover for our 'to do' shelves which always end up filled with bits of paper and bits and pieces. Prior to this cover, we would stuff clothes into the shelves to stop the paper etc. from flying out when the boat heeled over. I hope it works!
New cover/protector for 'to do' shelves.
Rene was inspired after spending some time with Brent (a catamaran man) who we met during Yasi while over on B finger. Brent is a diesel mechanic and he came over to give Rene some tips on caring for Anima's engine. Rene started if off by removing all of the engine coolant (a job he hasn't done before). He removed the radiator hose (which was in danger of breaking soon) and all of the old fluid. With plenty of cursing and sweating, there is now a replacement pipe that fits. Last night he put a biochemical cleaner into the tank and once we've run the engine with the cleaner, he'll replace that with the proper coolant. Phew!
Rene squishing himself into the engine to work on the radiator.
I finally completed the navigation laptop improvements. I sewed a specially designed cover for it just before Yasi came to bother us. Ollie gave me the idea of using velcro to secure it in place in the cockpit for use while sailing. So here it is! One water-proofed laptop, secured in place so it won't jump ship. I've also ordered a spare battery for it. Annoyingly when we bought the MSI Wind U160, we didn't realise that the battery it came with (when sold through Officeworks) is only the 3 cell which doesn't last the promised 8 hours. Hopefully the new 6 cell battery I've ordered will last longer so we can use the laptop for longer and be safer sailors.
Our Navigation Laptop securely in place.
Speaking of buying things online.. I unwisely leaped in without doing much research and ended up winning an ebay auction for a Globalstar satellite phone for only $157! Initially we were really excited - a satellite phone for so cheap! woooo! That elation took a spiral downwards when I researched the company and discovered that it doesn't have any coverage at all over the whole of South East Asia. Doh! I had wrongly assumed that satellite phones are global... turns out they're not! I've since embarked further into what our friend Anna so aptly coined 'the magical mystery tour' of satellite phones. Oh dear. There are 4 main players: Iridium, Globalstar, Thuraya and Inmarsat. Iridium is the only one with global coverage that is reliable (it has an astonishing 66 low earth orbit satellites and 7 in-orbit spares!). There are quite a few providers to choose from and prices seem to vary quite significantly for no obvious reason. My current tactic is to email some of the companies to ask for a direct quote and advice on best options rather than get lost in their websites (I think at the height of my research into sat phones, I had upwards of 30 tabs open in my firefox browser). Who knows what we'll end up with? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

There were about a dozen (or so) other items that I've been chasing up online, in person and over the phone. It's surprising (and annoying) how difficult some things are to come by. A simple piece of equipment (like the timing belt for our auto-pilot) can prove to be downright impossible to find. Thank goodness for the internet and mobile phones. I can't imagine trying to do this in the "good old days" when all yachties had was public phones to get obscure parts for their boats.

This week I also built a shelf for another cupboard which doesn't really have a name yet. The original owner-builders set the cupboard up as a grog-locker with dedicated wine glass holders. The second owners ripped that out and used it to store their children's clothes. We have tried storing our grog there but without any shelving / support, it would fly out when the boat heeled over starboard. Then we tried storing random stuff there which worked out OK except that it became one of those areas that things get shoved into and forgotten about.
So. I designed, cut, sanded and painted the new shelf. Then I pulled apart the cupboard - the whole front had to be removed along with all of the polished wood panels. Then I tried fitting the shelf, had to re cut it, repaint it and then after many hours of effort involving drills, screws, wood etc. I refitted the shelf and put the cupboard back together. What an effort! So here it is. Hesitantly called the 'Power cupboard' because that is mostly what needed to find a home - all the many power-related things that we use. So many chargers, cords and bits of equipment. This photo has the cupboard not yet full - that is my job for later today.
The Power Cupboard with new shelf built & installed by Cerae.
As I write this, my left arm is aching from the Typhoid vaccination I had this morning in preparation for our travels through Indonesia. This is the first of a few injections I'll need to get to be protected.

The batteries finally arrived and are sitting in their boxes awaiting the weekend so that Rene can install them when he has time. I'm looking forward to a holiday soon - all work and no play at the moment!

Ren with one of the new batteries!


  1. That laptop cover is pretty impressive Cerae. I hope it never leaks!

  2. What a wonderful adventure you are about to begin. It will be a grand journey I'm sure. I'll check back often to see where you are and what you are doing. Have a great weekend. Godspeed...Mary