Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Busy Beavers

We have been quite busy, and have neglected to post any blogs. Here is a 12day synopsis.

Wednesday Feb. 10th – Gram, in Quito on his way to England, learns of Visa confusion and cannot deliver the propeller to Bruntons for repair. We elect to ship the defective hub to Brunton, and continue to search for a method to have the part hand carried to us…customs would add a 3 week delay. An ASB (all sailors bulletin) is emailed to past and future crew asking for a volunteer to join us in the Galapagos – accompanied by our propeller hub, of course.

Thursday Feb. 11th – Good friend and Bermuda delivery crew Malcolm Willard offers to help us, and Bruntons ships the hub to him in Vermont. We, and our good friends on Soggy Paws cannot pass up the opportunity of a visitor from USA, and we load Malcolm down with more gear.

F/S/S - Shipment from England is confirmed, and packages are delivered.

Tuesday, Feb. 16th – Malcolm leaves Vermont bound for Galapagos. He overnights in Guayaquil.

Wednesday, Feb. 17th – Malcolm arrives in Isabela at 4 PM with propeller hub and parts. He has our never ending thanks.

Thursday, Feb. 18th – In the morning, we take the hub, blades, and new sets of conical and thrust bearings and seals and rings to the mechanics shop in town. We construct the propeller but need to make 2 phone calls to England with questions. We had asked for assembly instructions including torque and a detailed drawing, but these were not included in the package sent to us – and a large part of the reason why we tried to transport the parts back to them for factory assembly. We are instructed to torque the blade locking nut to 30 NM which we estimate as the included tool has no allowance for attaching a torque wrench. We finish the job and return to the boat by 1 PM. With the better part of the afternoon available, we decide to re-install the propeller then, and gain ½ day on our schedule. We shared a congratulatory bottle of champagne with Malcolm and Soggy Paws.

Friday, Feb. 19th – Morning sea trial appears to be successful, but when we dive to check blades and prop nut, blades are noted to be loose, and prop must be removed. By this time the practiced dive team was able to remove the prop in 45 minutes. We return to the mechanics shop and have a ½" socket drive welded to the locking nut, to enable a precise measurement of torque. We also find that we installed the conical bearing upside down, allowing the blade to settle and loosen. We check the illustration in the "users manual" we had referred to in assembly and this is ambiguous. It is not difficult to flip the bearings, but when we carefully tighten the locking nut to 30 Newton-Meters (NM) it is clearly too tight and will not allow blade rotation. It is after 5 PM in England, and the company would not provide us with an after hours number in case of problems. We are confused by the figure we were given and revert to the method of feel and common sense, which worked out to about 19 NM. Once we were finished, the crack dive team re-installs the prop in ¾ of an hour (we are getting too good at this), and subsequent sea trial is successful.

Saturday, Feb. 20th – Pre departure preparation continues. Exhaust flow sensor alarm was malfunctioning during sea trial and is made operational. We attempt to get exit "Zarpe" but are told that "system" is down. Attempt to top off diesel and gasoline, but gas station is closed on weekends.

Sunday, Feb. 21st – We had noted lack of rudder position indication in sea trials, and entire morning is spent troubleshooting. Robert Kramp of Kramp Electromics in Southwest Harbor Maine, our number 1 electronics person, once again proves he is an ace by making himself available on a Sunday to help find a cause. We end up learning that both rudder position indicators pulled up just enough from their seats to lose contact. Both! Easy fix and alignment 4 hours later. Again attempt to get exit "Zarpe" but are told that "system" is down.

Monday Feb.22 – Obtain diesel and gas in the morning with help from riends on Soggy Paws and Infiny. Obtain a defacto zarpe as a word document, as system is still down. Departure is delayed by rain and more rain, accompanied by thunder. We elect to wait until Tuesday morning, and have a relaxing evening.

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