Monday, July 25, 2011

Restoring Grace: Week Two

This week was a bit more of an adventure than usual.
It started with a phone call from the captain who is looking after Grace, saying that we needed to put down some better ground tackle. The anchor rode was unraveling because of chafe against the bottom, and he had moved her to deeper water to get the rope off the bottom, but that meant that there was now insufficient scope to hold her securely. So it was off to Kelly Marine in San Pedro, to hunt for another anchor and and a chain rode. After looking over what was available we settled on a 20kg Bruce, 90' of 3/8" chain and a handful of swivels and shackles. We freighted the gear to the island on Friday afternoon, on the twice-daily barge.

Over the weekend, we shopped for other miscellaneous items and supplies. Early on Monday we headed out to get the last few items and catch the ferry to Avalon. If you have ever tried to find matching blocks for some rigging you will understand why a 10 minute stop took an hour and meant that we missed the early afternoon boat and had to wait till 5:00.

We reached Avalon as the sun was going down over the hills. We could see that Grace was indeed dragging, but the freight company was closed for the evening so we had to wait till the next day to get the gear. As we were unloading the tender I noticed that the water seemed a bit closer than I remembered. About 1.2 seconds later the meaning of this information dawned on me and I hurried below to check the bilge. Pulling up the floorboards revealed an unbroken pool of water lapping over the frames and everything else including the submerged bilge pump switch. Out came the multi-meter and showed that the battery was at precisely 0.00v. I checked the other battery and it was a healthy 12.94v. A couple of minutes after the switch was made we were back to the normal 1/2" of water in the bilge. 

Later that night I noticed that the bilge pump was sucking air (not uncommon when there is chop) and got up to un-stick the switch, but found that it was functioning normally- a couple of taps and it seemed to shut off without incident. Next morning during breakfast the same thing happened but this time I found that even when the pump was "off" it was still idling at a low enough pressure that it didn't actually clear any water but kept the output line full and drained the battery. After some checking I found a short in the switch, so we took the dinghy into town to get another switch. Once back on board the switch switch was quickly made and things were back to normal.

Here are the bilge pump switches about to be swapped out.

The "retired" switch and its replacement.

The next item that needed attention was the galley pump. It had stared leaking on the last trip and was overdue for servicing. We had ordered the service kit and brought it with us. Even without instructions it was a fairly straightforward job that took about an hour and a half (it would have taken less time but I dropped some of the pieces and had to figure out where they came from).
Here is the pump before servicing. Note the pan of water that had leaked from it.

Roo loves to help whenever I am fixing anything. Here he is, fixing a plug for a power cord.

On this trip we also installed some oil lamps, which make for much more pleasant evenings below. This one is in the galley and there is a matching one across the companionway, above the nav station.
The forepeak also got a new lamp that neatly fit in holes already in the mast.

By the time we got into town and picked up the gear from the freight company it was getting late and the captain decided that re-anchoring could wait till morning. During dinner (high tide) we noticed that the next boat over was swinging rather closer than is comfortable (she is on a couple of hundred feet of chain and has quite a swing) and that we were dragging at an alarming rate. Lesson learned: spring tides are not to be toyed with.

The shackles and other hardware for rigging the anchor were not on board yet so off I went in the skiff to talk to the captain and get the hardware. When I got back to Grace we tied another couple of lengths of anchor rope onto the current rode (we should have done this as soon as we got on board- it would have saved a lot of headaches) which ended enabled the anchor to bite again. Then Corrie and I rigged the new anchor and chain and towed Grace up-current. When the first rode went taut we let go the new anchor and waited for it to set. Unfortunately, in the dark we managed to tow Grace off the side of the shelf into deeper water, meaning that the new anchor didn't bite until we swung completely around over the side of the shelf (and it REALLY set then) We hadn't taken into account how strong the current had become; another lesson learned the hard way.. By the time the action was over it was nearing 3:00am. I still was not comfortable with how close the other boat was so I hauled Grace up the rode to gain a couple of yards (not fun to do alone against a 2-3kt current without a windlass).

The next morning, when the captain was aboard, we discovered what had  happened with the anchor and decided, after trying to raise it, that we would move the other anchor to oppose the new one. Another session of pretending to be a windlass ensued, and after a couple of hours' work towing the boat and anchor around we got everything under control and both anchors well set. Later in the day, once we were sure things were holding, I added chafing gear to the rode and lashed the two rodes together to help with chafe on the bobstay.

After another trip to town to pick up the stove (which got delayed the first day because the barge was full), we temporarily mounted it and ran a propane line to it (not the full system yet, as that needs to wait until after the new fuel tanks are put in with the engine). It is a bit of a hassle to use as you need to hook up and disconnect the the disposable cylinder each time the stove is used, but it is worlds better than the grill for boiling water, baking, and everyday cooking.
Here is the stove, mounted and ready to cook.
Always a talented purveyor of delicious food, Corrie set an amazing table at each meal.

The yacht lamps that we ordered came with an extra lamp which we traded to my brother for a handmade produce hammock.
Our little midshipman taking the noon sunshot.

The next day, we continued the cleaning and organizing and I installed a new hatch to cover the hole in the cockpit where the binnacle had been.
The hole being enlarged for the hatch
(all the plywood will be replaced when the aft deck is redone, so this is temporary)

The new hatch in place.
After finishing the hatch we went ashore for some supplies and decided to take a walk in the hills above Avalon. We walked up to the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden. The scenery is beautiful and the weather was perfect.
Corrie and Roo on the way back down.
Roo always enjoys trips ashore, which (as far as possible) are planned with him in mind.
On the way down we noticed a labyrinth off to the side of the road. I have been interested in labyrinths for several years. According to archeologists, labyrinths (not to be confused with mazes) were used by early seafarers as a navigation aid, similar to modern lighthouses, and are often found near pilot stations and narrow channels from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia. Many are also found in older churches, cathedrals, and government buildings across Europe. This particular example was of the Medieval type and took about 15 minutes to walk, while taking time to repair the sides in a couple of places.

On the way back down we got one-dollar tacos at the Sand Trap (yay for happy hour!). They were great, and one of the better deals we've found in Avalon so far.

After taking in some music and making some new friends at Machine Gun Park, we headed back to Grace and made it in time to watch the moon rise out of the cloud bank.
Notice the wake of boat anchored next to us- it is from the strong current .

The next day was spent getting Grace shipshape before we left. At about noon we noticed that Grace's shadow had come alive as thousands of bait fish hid in the shade.

We counted at least 4 different kinds of fish over the course of the afternoon. at one point the school was too large to fit in Grace's shadow and went well down in the water.

I spent the afternoon making chafing gear and working on lifelines and the damaged rail, with Roo's help.

The foredeck after some straightening up (note the new solar anchor light).
The (finally) clear aft deck set in order.

As always, it was sad to leave, but we were happy with the progress that was made and how much we had learned. We are looking forward to the next trip.

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