• Ana

A Quarantine diary - week 9

Day 57 (2020-05-08) Rest day. The goal was to do absolutely nothing and we achieved it Day 58 (2020-05-09) Yeah, rest day, too good to be true. For a few days now there have been accusations of not flushing the toilet correctly and that should have triggered our minds to the fact that it was about time to clean the pipes of calcification. It didn’t turn on in our brains that are clearly in standby mode, so there you go we now have a blocked-up toilet! Super fun especially when we then find out during the cleaning process that the ball valve of that seacock for the toilet is broken and we just closed the seacock... Luckily we have a second toilet that we have never used before. It was just for emergencies and I guess this is now an emergency until we lift The Dream out of the water and replace the broken valve. All in all, was a great day cleaning the pipe to find out that we can’t use the toilet at all. Day 59 (2020-05-10) In light of yesterday events, we revived the survey/study to replace all seacocks to TruDesign composite plastic ones. A fun day opening up floorboards, measuring seacocks double checking against previous study etc. What could go wrong with such an innocent task one might ask? Well anyone that lives or owns a boat knows that if you poke around too much you will find something that needs to be repaired and of course we found some really stupid that required a quick solution. We found that the fridge condensate drain is not connected to anything and is simply dripping into the bilge and onto the cabinetry baseboard. Isn’t that a great idea?! We found a correct size hose, hose clamp and diverted the dripping to the bottom bilge into a little plastic bucket for easy cleaning/drying. We prefer a nice clean and dry bilge. Day 60 (2020-05-11) We had problems over the few past days with the batteries being warm to hot when charging and after several days of this game we woke up to flat batteries, a defrosted fridge and a less than a frozen freezer. We jumped into action disconnecting all batteries in the hope of being able to get by plugging just one in for now. We started with our best bet battery, after quickly measuring each one of them with the multimeter, we rearranged the cables to connect just that one battery and started the charging process. The system once plugged to shore for proper continuous charging instead of displaying the message BULK (charging) changed to ABSORPTION in less than two minutes. Not a good sign but we decided to let it do the full 5h cycle. Once completed we disconnected from shore and kept an eye on the voltage it in less than 1h the low voltage alarm was triggered and just like that we got the confirmation that our best bet battery was dead. We replaced it with our second-best bet but this one went into absorption mode even faster than the previous and there’s no way that any of them could be at 14.1 volts in the morning so we moved immediately to the last battery just to clear any doubts. After a couple of hours doing ABSORPTION we decided there was no point on waiting for 5h, it would either be nearly charged or dead. It was dead. Now we were sure we had a big problem on our hands, both the fridge and the freezer are reasonably full and food would spoil quickly. Although a big problem, it was no surprise. We knew since late October 2019 when we had the high-temperature battery alarm at sea that this day was coming. In fact, we had been thinking about it since January despite our work of correcting the installation. It was just a matter of time for it to happen and we had already seen the signs of it just days before when we started having voltage drops on the 12v lighting and low voltage alarms when running the toaster in the morning. A quick rush to a few people that could potentially have a spare battery we could use to allow us to have some power through shore power resulted in deciding that right now the only option would be to take our engine starter battery from the engine compartment and plug in place of the house battery bank. We quickly changed our Multiplus and MPPT settings accordingly and are keeping the swapped battery in a FLOAT mode at 13.6v while drawing power directly from shore.

Day 61 (2020-05-12) Got up reasonably early, still thinking on the battery bank. The first mission was to get the 3 batteries out of the yacht, the fact that each weighs around 60kg meant it was not going to be just a simple task. With the memory of how and what we had done to get them in we rigged up a sheet to help us hoist them with the main halyard through the companionway. That meant closing our makeshift tent, move the boom sideways, open the spray hood front panel and then rig the hoist. What we didn’t expect was not to be able to use our electric winch and to have to winch it by hand... We may have just learned another new thing on our yacht that we didn’t know about. It seems like the electric winch is wired through the engine starter battery?! Something to be investigated. In 30 minutes the old batteries were moved onto the dock waiting to be picked up. Time for coffee and relax while we wait for the time to be past 10am and our dock neighbours to be awake and working. The second mission would be ordering new batteries. We don’t want to keep the starter battery in a situation of making the job of a house bank. After some discussions and queries, we managed to order new batteries but due to the lack of options, we had to go with the only option Lead Acid. Let’s see what happens tomorrow. Deflated with our predicaments of lockdown and lost investment we decided some procrastination was in need. Plus focusing on cooking some yummy food always distracts the mind. Day 62 (2020-05-13) Started the day with an outing to the veggie and fruit stall but the day was marked by the arrival of the new batteries and studying the new charging settings and cable rearrangement. Day 63 (2020-05-14) Got up at 5.30 am and started working immediately on installing the new batteries and returning the engine starter battery back to its place. What a nightmare! Note to self for the future engine starter battery: the terminals need to be at one end close to each other opposed to this model where the terminals are on each end of the battery. It is so hard to connect the battery. By 8.15 am all was done including confirming that both the electric winch and the outdoors fridge are connected to the engine starter battery instead of the house bank. Surprise, surprise something to add to the list of To-Do jobs not related to repairs...

Mid-afternoon we had to bring the two speciality sails (spinnaker and code 0) out of the sail locker and into the cockpit because finally the repairs to the damages from the accident, back in a December when our neighbour crashed into our bow while manoeuvring, were starting.

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