Saturday, July 10, 2010

Heat, Humidity, Repairs & Annapolis

Back Creek, Annapolis, MD

We decided that as we had already motored the whole way from Beaufort we would do the same on the Chesapeake Bay, so we chugged steadily north in three legs from Norfolk VA to Annapolis, rather than waiting on favourable winds.  Previous experiences with the bay are little to no wind at this time of year, and we are keen to arrive and begin getting Matsu in shape.

Map picture

It was all very uneventful except for once more losing our steering, we were coming in to anchor for the night, turned off the autopilot and had no manual steering!  We used the autopilot to anchor uneventfully, and once topped up with oil the steering worked fine again – further investigation found a big leak from one of the copper pipes just where it went round a bulk head, and we have finally found the cause of all our problems – just need to fix it now!

We got into Back Creek Annapolis, said a big hello to our friends from the Caribbean, Dave & Donna on MagicAnnapolis_002 who live here aboard their boat, and then settled in for 3 weeks of trying to get Matsu into some sort of cruising shape so we won’t have to brave the bridges on the way south!  The to do list is long and we are keen to get the major items either done or in progress before heading to Canada to see the family.

For the whole time we have been here the weather has been unbearably hot, our Target ice maker has been a life saver keeping us in iced tea, 100+ degrees most days, and dropping to only 90 at night (apologies for the Farenheit but when in Rome).

Boat wise the priorities were a new main sail, fix the generator and the steering and get some varnish onto the exterior wood work.

Our old North main sail has done 12 years and I would guess nearly 50,000 miles so it is hardly surprising that it is now made of tissue paper after all the UV damage.  We have repaired some small tears, but it is only a matter of time until it blows out permanently so time to bite the bullet.  I hunt around for quotes, and happily North are the best value (half the price of a quote from an independent maker here) and so we can continue the relationship.  It will be built at their loft in Sri Lanka and then shipped to the USA for final finishing, fitting our batten cars etc and then the sail maker will help fit it and test sail it with us.  It’s a nice heavy cruising cloth, 3 reefs and a few extras and should last us well.

Starting the generator should have been easy, I soon isolated the problem to the injectors, so bought 3 new ones and installed them.  Unfortunately while tightening the final bolts I managed to break the fuel return manifold, so had to buy a new one of those.  The only stock in the USA was in Seattle and the 3 day delivery time stretched to a week after a rock fall in Montana – has anyone else seen “Delayed Due to Natural Disaster” on their UPS tracking status?  Finally it arrived and 5 minutes later it was fitted and I was pressing the starter – chugga chugga, vroom, yeah! sound of fridge opening, pssst, slurp, aaaaaah was the sound sequence from then on!

The steering was the only other big ticket item to stop us sailing south, and this was duly fixed after much crawling in lockers, sweating and swearing.  We cut out the troublesome 4’ length of copper tubing and replaced it with a brand new hydraulic hose and hopefully we are done.

Meanwhile Linda braved the heat and did all the exterior varnishing, so Matsu is now shiny and mechanically sound.  We still have a long to do list of little things and improvements, some essential, some desirable and some that I am sure will be on the to do list as long as we own the boat!

Aside from the boat our other priority was to get some transport, as we want to shuttle back and forth to Canada, as well as do some land travel this summer, and with our hard earned motor bike skills we decided that a couple of bikes would be the way to go.  Much searching later and Linda is the proud owner of a Kawasaki 650R and me a Yamaha FJR1300 – the open road awaits!

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