Since our arrival to New Zealand there has been 2 objectives to accomplish:
- Get our beloved Northern Lights generator working again. This has been on our list since Fiji and after 3 different opinions and lots f leg work…were were able to get the part shipped to Auckland and courier to Opua. The generator is very important to us as it runs our stove, water maker, and air conditioning among charge our batteries which we have been without since we arrived in Fiji on September 22nd. We had the use of SV Me Toos portable generator (thanks to them) to be able to travel throughout Fiji but decided to get the work done and part delivered to New Zealand where there is an official Northern Lights dealer.
- Eliminate the water intrusion inside the boat. After the passage to New Zealand and the “indoor pool” we experienced, we were no longer able to rest assured until we could at least abate the water that was able to come inside our boat. We have always, as most boat do, have weeps of water and thus far we have never had a major problem…until now! We are not the only ones who figured out how bad our boats leaked…but we were on a mission to figure it out and fix most if not all the issues.
- All other projects we wanted to do got put on hold….
Northern Lights Generator – Many electrical tests later, it seemed as though it was the rectifier and the diodes that went out on our generator. The original diagnosis was the windings…which is deep inside and would require us to disassemble the helm and pull out the generator…something we did not want to do. The rectifier, though difficult to get to, was at least “outside” the main mechanical side of the generator and could be accessed without pulling the whole damn thing out! Thank goodness this worked : )
Hatches – We always knew these leaked a little bit but never have we seen this much water come through during our passage here. We had no idea if the hatches were indeed original but now it was on the top of our list to change out. Easier said than done!!!! Things are metric here in New Zealand (and almost everywhere else in the world) and finding a match, including the radius of the corners, were going to be tricky. We finally found a brand that could “possibly” fit, we threw money at it and crossed our fingers. Sure enough the radius was fine but the new hatches had a flange where our original hatches were a flat bottom. Of course we couldn’t have know that until we committed and took off the old hatch. With threats of rain at any time…we were blessed to have gotten all the essential work done on all 3 hatches during days it was sunny. Lucky again.
Running lights – We lost our starboard bow running light (green) as the waves yanked it off its mounting bracket and wires. We need these for navigation so other vessels can tell where we/they are in relation to each other (whether they see red for port or green for starboard).
Wind Turbine – The wind turbine is a love/hate thing for me….we lost the first wind turbine back on our crossing the pacific when it blew up in a major squall and we had parts flying off and onto the deck until we got a replacement in American Samoa…almost 4 months later. We replaced the broken turbine back in August….all good…until we crossed to New Zealand. The main topping lift had a few lines from our Dutchman system tied onto it due to not reconnecting it. On my defense, I had wrapped it pretty well before hand but obviously not tight enough. For some reason, when Trevor raised the main, the lines were untied and caught on one of the blades and ripped it off…thank goodness it didn’t hit anyone…AND thank goodness we kept the spare blades from the old turbine.
Back Stay and SSB Insulator – We witnessed our lower shroud both on our mizzen mast and main mast have a lot of play while we were under way on this passage. We knew our rigging had shaken so much under tension from the wind we had we got a rigging inspection as soon as we got here to Opua. We have plans to replace our lower shrouds later but what needed to get fixed was our backstay on our main mast. Our SSB radio insulator is bolted through our backstay and it had multiple cracks and if it broke, it could disconnect our backstay..which is BAD!!!! So we got a took down the old one and ordered a new insulator and had a new backstay fashioned.
Toe Rail – WOW….such a newbie mistake! Back in Fiji, we had our varnish taken off thinking labor was cheap and water was getting stuck between the cracking varnish and wood and we didn’t want the wood to rot so we thought we were doing us a favor by taking the varnish off and leaving our teak toe rails to “grey” (go natural). Well….this is where most of the water seeped through…as the varnish was taken off, so did the caulk between the toe rail and the deck so water was able to seep through and run down the inside of the boat soaking everything in it way: cushions, food, clothes, rugs, floors, everywhere! So we had to re-varnish it…something any cruiser dreads….Varnish work! We had to take the track, on top of the toe rail, off to be able to properly sand and re-varnish the toe rail. Not a small job! Trying to get to the 40 screw and bolts from inside the boat required us to disassemble cabinets and empty out entire spaces for WEEKS (because you had to get them back in). Let’s just say our boat looked like a tornado hit it.
External charge controller for the Alternator – One of the few things that DID make the list that didn’t have to do with the generator or water intrusion was an external alternator regulator. This thing changes the voltage generated by our alternator to “step down” so we don;t burn out our battery bank. I guess what happened is when the engine runs and the battery bank is already fully charged, the alternator sends 14.2 volts to the battery bank which is really high…when we only need a lower voltage charge. So this thing will step down the voltage so we don;t burn out our new batteries purchased in 2016.
Auto Pilot – While drying out the boat, Trevor found 5 gallons, alone, just under our bed where the autopilot pump and hydraulic rams are. He also noticed a leak in the hydraulic hose that connects to the rams (we fixed the rams back in Fiji). So got a new fitting and Trevor installed it. We then had to “bleed” the hydraulic system of air bubbles which requires us to turn the wheel back and forth and keep the psi to a certain pressure. Side note: When we were entering the Bay of Islands and making landfall, we turned off the autopilot to hand steer for a bit…well to our surprise, the wheel kept on turning and wouldn’t stop….which meant we had no steering ability! So we thought…..we quickly turned the auto pilot back on, as that seemed to be working…. we positioned ourselves to hand steer and clear of any obstacles (again this was in the middle of the early morning) and finally the wheel stopped and we could steer by hand. The wheel was slow to react but at least we had steering. Trevor thought it was air bubbles in the system we never got out back in Fiji and since we had been using the autopilot during the entire passage, the pump at the wheel never got all the air bubbles out. At that point it didn’t matter….now the steering feel great and without any give or “soft” spots…we think we are all good!
CPE- What did Kimi do? Well I took 40 hours of CPE to keep my CPA license online. I would have to wake up about 4:30 on days that I had signed up to take webcasts as the classes are on EST. The first class I forgot that I was a day ahead of the US and was all ready to go…data full, coffee made, notebook in hand….but no class? I emailed the company and they were like: “yes…it is on schedule for tomorrow…”….crap! Oh well, I got it done, thank goodness, just in time to renew my WA license next year.
All back together – Finally, after 3 weeks of straight work…almost with a few days off here and there, we got everything finished that we had to for now. We still have lots of little projects but we are scheduled to be down in Whangamata to meet my sister, Lisa and her fiance, Jake and his family there for Christmas. My mother and step-dad are also coming to spend a few days of the new year with us before taking a cruise of Australia and New Zealand. we are all meeting up in Whangamata and I can’t wait to see/meet everyone!