As those who have ploughed through all of my posts or who followed me here or on the Achilles Flickr site as I made the trip will know I had some fairly major equipment problems on my round GB but considering that because of Covid-19 restrictions, I did not have time for a shake down cruise or even a single trip after winter lay up, I had remarkably few other problems.
Major Issues in chronological order of failure:
External Alternator Regulator & Batteries
This one has not been mentioned here or on the Achilles owners forum.
Some years ago a previous owner installed an external voltage regulator for the alternator to give more intelligent and far quicker battery charging, usually a 300 - 400% improvement and I have seen 40+ amps going into the batteries for sustained periods.
After relaunch I noticed that it was showing fault lights that normally indicate wiring problems which I put down to damage when the engine was moved to replace the cutlass bearing last winter. I replaced the first section of the duel negative lines and the fault went away, however that was temporary and the fault reoccurred as I left in July.
|The 2nd domestic battery bank. The webbing |
straps are used with the lea cloths to secure
stores I carry on the starboard bunk. Note the
seriously heavy cable used to reduce voltage drop
even though this bank would be 2nd reserve
I completely rewired the external regulator initially using very short wires as a check (long ones being a potential problem) and checked connections inside the regulator, voltages etc. but to no avail, the regulator had failed.
When replaced, the charging side of the problem was fixed and when I checked the failed regulator the reason for my battery problem became apparent, the regulator was set for flooded batteries but the previous owner had replaced them with sealed (VRLA) types, this means that the batteries had been charged too quickly, this causes water loss as pressure exceeds safe limits and gas is released to the atmosphere, being sealed this can't be replaced so the batteries loose capacity and will have to be replaced. Update: the two batteries in bank 1 were replaced with two 120 Amp AGM batteries, as these can be safety be discharged by 80% so there is a significant increase in usable capacity,
primarily to reduce the number of wires going to any one terminal. Unfortunately it still looks a bit of a mess but that is what happens when you do multiple upgrades and have limited space.
At least it looks OK with the panel (new in 2018) closed.
Due to shifting locker floor boards. This was covered in a previous post so will not be repeated here.
Similarly this was covered extensively in a previous post.
|The failed search for the lost propeller off Stromness marina.|
Broken after it wrapped round the forestay whilst the headsail was being furled when I was going from Blyth to Filey, as explained in some detail in the post about that leg of the trip. that was because a previous owner had not installed a halyard diverter when a furling system was installed.
A mast mounted diverter was installed shortly after I go back to the Hamble and the halyard repaired.
This was an intermittent pain throughout the trip until they failed completely, initially I got the radio link between the top of the mast and the controller working by moving tinned food and other metal items further away from the direct path between them, and then by moving the control unit further forward in the boat but in the end the signal became too weak, failing for over 20 hours of sailing coming down from Orkney then failing completely.
The NiMH battery in the head unit was new last winter and has a service life of 3 - 4 years and it is thought that the fault was in the small solar panel that keeps it charged after what looks like water intrusion. Rather than replace it like for like I have purchased a wired version of the sender that should be far more reliable, unfortunately the cable arrived too late to replace it at the same time as the halyard diverter was installed and it looks like that will not be done until the boat goes back in the water in March..
SeaFeatherPeterhead to Ethien Haven (Montrose) when the wind instruments gave up the ghost. Although I was initially cautious it appears that my repairs made from the dinghy whilst in Blyth fixed the problem.
The tube holding the servo blade had rotated at the top joint and by using the blade as a leaver and a very big screw driver to hold the top I got it sorted.
Spinnaker Sheets: Twice a flogging cruising chute caused a snap shackle to open, that has happened once before with the symmetrical spinnaker so I have now replaced them with a more up market type which is specifically designed for sheets which will hopefully be more secure and also easier to open when under load. These are double the price of a direct replacement, it was not hard to resist the temptation to buy some of similar size on offer at 10 times the price.
Freshwater leak: Some water leaked into the compartment below one of the bunks, that was easily tracked down to a leaking fresh water pump supplying the galley, a complete new pump was only £10 more than a service kit so a new one was installed.
Throttle lever: Failed when coming into anchor at Broadford Bay, Skye when I could not get the engine out of gear, with plenty of room that was no problem, I just cut the engine, did a 360 to slow down before dropping the anchor, I made a quick fix at the time by tightening a grub screw and later cleaned out splines that were clogged with grease and refitted.
Cooker mount: In rough seas the cooker started moving about, the cooker had to come off the gimbles and the bolts securing a pad refitted.
That's it! The work list this winter is not going to be that long with anti fouling by far the biggest job, probably followed by the battery replacement as I will take the opportunity to tidy up the battery compartment wiring.
Not able to use the cockpit table more than a couple times!
|Power wash a couple of weeks before departure.|
A related issue was weed attaching above the antifouling, partly this will be due to the boat being heavily loaded with fuel, water food etc. and partly due to the boat having put on weight over the years with more batteries and a bigger engine but I suspect it is also partly due to the "boot line" (the white strip of antifoul), being a bit lower than is should be and I will move it up a bit this winter.