Back to Work

27 November 2017  Richards Bay, South Africa
I had an unsettled night worrying about the cutlass bearing.  If they’ve damaged the threads beyond repair then the job will turn into a long nightmare.  I was up at 05:00 because I couldn’t sleep and spent two hours editing my photographs to take my mind off the damn cutlass bearing.

When we arrived at the boat yard, Jannie gave the cutlass bearing housing back to Arno, who spent all morning hand-filing the thread.  He kept walking over to the boat to try it and then, shaking his head, he’d walk back to the workshop to do some more tedious filing. 

Propeller, Stripper and Cutlass Bearing all fitted

I occupied myself by dropping the anchor chain to the floor, inspecting it and flipping it end to end to even out the wear.  One end is still heavily galvanised whereas the working end was starting to get patches of rust.  I reattached the anchor and pulled it back into the chain locker.  Glenys finished off removing the silicone sealant from the front heads and has started to mask it off ready to re-apply new. 

Just after lunch, Arno finally managed to get the cutlass bearing to screw onto the stern tube, so I whacked on some sealant and we screwed it in place - thank God it was sorted out.  I then replaced the propeller and the Rope Stripper, so all my “below water” jobs are done.  We now just need Jannie to complete the bearing for the rudder shoe, but he didn’t have time today.

The yard labourers applied the first coat of anti-foul paint, so if Jannie gets his job done, we should be on target for a launch on Friday 1st December.

28 November 2017  Richards Bay, South Africa
It’s quite nice being in the Treetops apartment, but there’s a lot of wildlife around.  I think that there are some Hadeda Ibis roosting in the trees at night because at dawn, I was woken by their loud raucous calls (like a loud crow).  We also had a troop of Vervet Monkeys bounding about on the corrugated roof making a right old din.

At the boat yard, I asked Jannie about the rudder shoe, but he’s not managed to make any progress - he promised me the job will be done by 14:00 and that we can fit the shoe in place this afternoon.  We had some errands to run, so I dropped Glenys off at the Boardwalk Shopping Mall and then drove around to various suppliers.

Toilet Holding Tank

I bought a new set of bearings and seals for the engine sea water pump - I need to service it, so I’ve bought another spare kit.  The Volvo dealer in Cape Town has quoted me 4,600 Rands (£230) for a “pump repair kit”, whereas I actually paid 180 Rands (£9) for the two bearings and a seal - Volvo is such a rip-off.  

I took my empty cooking gas tank to Builders Warehouse, but was unable to get them to fill-it.  They freaked out that it wasn’t a South African tank and didn’t have a fitting for the valve.  I found a place just across the road behind the BP garage called Sha’s Hardware & Aluminium, who filled it in 30 minutes.

Back at the boat, I started to fit the new valve to the toilet holding tank - nasty sweaty job, working in a confined space, covered in slime from the toilet hoses.  I’ve put thread sealant on the valve assembly and fitted it in place.  When the sealant has hardened tomorrow, I’ll fit the pipework.

I spent the rest of the afternoon changing the low pressure pump on the water maker.  The water maker fuse switch has been tripping out for months and I thought that the pump was at fault, so I bought a New Pump from the manufacturer, Echotec in Trinidad.  As I was removing the wiring, I found a very Dodgy Connector in the 220V wire, which has probably been the cause of all my trouble.  I think that the old pump is okay - bummer!  Ah well, the old pump is very, very rusty and is probably on its last legs - it needed to be changed.

The seemingly simple job of swapping the pump has turned into an epic - I need to change some of the water pipes because the new pump has slightly different size connectors.  Also while I’ve got the pump out, I’m going to clean up the various fittings and filters in the cupboard, which where the two water maker pumps are located. I’ll have to finish the job tomorrow.

Watermaker Pumps

At 14:00 the rudder shoe wasn’t done.  At 16:00, the bush has been split in two, but there’s a couple of hours work still to do - Jannie has promised me that it will be done by 11:00 tomorrow.  I’m hopping mad.  I gave them the job on the 9th November they said that they would have it done in a week - it’s now been 2½ weeks.  It’s typical boat yard crisis management - Jannie is trying to manage the boat yard and do some precision machining - he should have sub- contracted my job.

I quit at 17:00 and went back to the apartment to drink a few cans of beer to calm me down.

29 November 2017  Richards Bay, South Africa
We’re supposed to launch on the 1st December and by 11:00, they still hadn’t finished the rudder shoe.  I hassled them every 30 minutes until finally at 12:30, Dave came to dry fit it on the boat.  I’d already removed the steering cables from the quadrant, so that there was no friction in the steering system and I could move the rudder with my little finger.

After the assembly was fitted, the rudder was significantly harder to turn, so something was binding.  At first, Dave said that it just needed grease, then Jannie appeared and said that he’d be happy with the movement.  I dug my heels in and loosened off the screws, so that the bearing wasn’t binding on the shaft and showed them how easy it should be to move the rudder.  

New bush in rudder shoe

Dave then spent the next four hours, scraping the bore, refitting it and repeating until finally at 16:00, both he and I were happy with the fit.  It was too late to complete the rest job, so we’ll finish it tomorrow - we should still be good to launch at 14:00, the day after tomorrow.

I spent the whole day on the water-maker.  I first cleaned up the inside of the cupboard and wire-brushed rust from various filters, the high pressure pump and mounting screws.  I then re-plumbed the pipework from the seacock to the low pressure pump and changed the electrical wiring.  After fitting the low pressure pump in place, I then changed all of the soundproofing material inside the cupboard walls because the old stuff was crumbling away.  I was just about finished at 16:00.

Whenever, I wasn’t in the front heads doing the water-maker, Glenys masked off the front heads ready to apply new silicone sealant.  She also spent hours polishing the stainless steel on the deck, which was starting to look pretty bad.  The inside of the boat still looks like a bomb has hit it, but it won’t take long to tidy up once we have launched.