Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Cruising is fixing your boat in exotic locations

The title of this blog post is a very common saying about cruising. To some degree it's true, but Phil and I think it's also quite exaggerated. For us cruising has mostly been fun: lots of day sails (and some longer passages, but they were mostly back in the Pacific, so almost forgotten now), lots of lazying around pretty anchorages, exploring our surroundings (above and under water) and so forth. Sure, some times we have to to boat work and even simple tasks such as getting diesel takes a lot longer and is more work than back home.

We have NOT been out there cruising for years and years on end and that does make a difference also. When we left New Zealand, Sophia was in pretty pristine condition and almost everything was new. I have no doubt that cruising for five or ten years will mean more breakages and things that needs fixing or replacing. I probably tend to forget the bad things, because of course we have had issues, and thinking about it, with almost every system on board:  auto-pilot, engine, toilet, water maker, dingy, anchor winch and wind anemometer. We have been lucky (or said in other terms, Phil has been clever at fixing things) that we have been able to fix most things ourselves, or we have simply been without until it got replaced or fixed later on. Of course it also helps that we're a (relatively) simple boat. We don't have hot or pressure water, no chart plotter, our steering is a simple tiller etc.

A week or two ago we had THREE things broken: toilet, anchor winch and engine! A part in the toilet pump had broken six weeks prior, but we had gotten by just with with a bucket. We could have bought a whole new pump here in Phuket, but it would have been $300 US. Instead we got just the part sent here from US for less than $100 in total, including freight. The anchor winch was a bit of a mystery, it would work fine, then suddenly stop. Phil tried to fix it several times, and sometimes thought he had, but then it would suddenly stop working again. Finally he took the whole motor apart with the help of other nice cruisers and basically it just needed a really good cleaning. Phew. It's hard to go anywhere if you have to retrieve the anchor manually!
How many people does it take to fix an anchor winch engine? Phil is the red shoulder in the corner
Our last and most serious and also longest on-going problem is the engine! The engine itself works just fine, no problem there, touch wood! The issue is that the engine rattles, as in the shaft hits the stern tube. This is only at certain revs, so we can mitigate the problem and still motor when we need to. But it has actually been a problem ever since we added the dripless shaft seal in Kudat during haul out. I won't bore with details, but Phil has tried a ton of things, researched and consulted a lot of people, but we're still not clear what the solutions is. At the moment we hope harder mounts will fix the problem. To be continued...

Anyway, this blog post is just say that we don't agree with the saying that cruising is fixing your boat in exotic locations. Maybe with the exception of those couple of days when we had the three problems all at once. We have been around the southern end of Phuket where we have had fun with more socialising and less fun with fixing the boat, diesel, laundry and shopping. However, sometimes those things are an adventure in itself, I like to go to new supermarkets and exploring the aisles for different and yummy things.
Exotic locations = exotic fruit. Here my two favourites! Fresh passion fruit is very rare to come by, but I just found some the other day
At the very top of the fun o'meter: a spinnaker swing! Check out the video I added to facebook of this

No comments:

Post a Comment