Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Repairs in New Zealand

Astarte took good care of us on our trip from Tonga to New Zealand…now it's our turn to take good care of her. She handled the waves, wind and changing conditions with grace. Now, settled into a slip in the Opua Marina, she gets some respite from the ordeal (as do we).

The maintenance list is lengthy - so buy stock in NZ because the local economy will have a spike! So here is the list of projects underway aboard the good ship Astarte.

Steering repairs: We lost the steering about 100 miles off New Zealand. The cable came off the quadrant and the steering wheel could do 360 degree turns. So after a good fix by Michael off shore, we got into the Q dock and then the boat slip and now it is all taken apart. Our good friend Matt from "Superted V" came by and kibitzed with Michael and offered some good advice (and a drawing for a repair). A new bit will be manufactured that will hopefully solve the problem. That part request is now at the machine shop to be made. The steering cables which we had ordered prior to arriving here aren't in yet - but when they get here - we'll re-do the entire system. It will be a big project and Michael will tackle it himself.

Autopilot repair: It's only money! That's the way to repair things. The control panel for our auto pilot was on its last legs. The screen was unreadable; the beeps stopped beeping when you changed course and it was beeping on its own for no apparent reason. After so much dousing with salt water - it's no wonder. So after many conversations with the Raymarine folks, Michael was told that he could get a new control panel and just plug it in. So for hundreds of our favorite dollars - we ordered one. It arrived and surprise! It's not a match. The hole sizes are different; the plugs are different; the connectors are different… why can't these manufacturers tell you the truth? So with a brand new piece of equipment, Michael has to cut and resolder wires. Ouch!

Mainsail Car Repair: Our mainsail has been hard to pull out and get in because of a car that is old and worn and not running smoothly. It is integrated into the boom and requires the boom ends to be taken off so it can be removed. But of course, that's not that easy as the boom ends are riveted on- not screwed on (leaving us "screwed"). So we took the boom off and walked it to the rigging shop up the ramp and they have drilled out the rivets, taken the car off and are hunting out the six wheels needed to rebuild it. (Three have been located so far). They also replaced the line inside the boom for the topping lift and the line for the mainsail outhaul.

Rig Check: After the weather, waves and crashing we endured, the rig needs a thorough check. The forestay seems a bit loose. So we will get a highly recommended rigger down to do a rigging check and tightening.

Mainsail Replacement: We have been meeting with sailmakers over the last week and getting prices and recommendations for a new mainsail. We knew we needed one and after this trip we definitely know we need one. Ours is quite old and has pretty much lost all its shape. So we have met with several local sailmakers and will order it by week's end. It will take several months to get. A big expense but it will make Astarte handle much better.

Engine Repairs: New engine mounts have been installed already (thank you big brother Richard for delivering the mounts to Tahiti!). Three of the four were bad so this was a good thing to get done and may finally eliminate the vibration we had. We'll see when we finally get it out of the slip. Plus, the mechanics found a water leak that is solved and tightened up several spots that may mitigate some of the oil leaks (it is an old Perkins after all!) Bones and Kim , the mechanics, also will help Michael rebuild the control panel for the engine (which also took too many douses of salt water). So a new panel with ignition switch, oil pressure gauge and tach will be installed). So that is all underway and moving ahead. The screeching noise that we heard was luckily only a mis-sized belt on the alternator - so the correct sizes have been purchased and the belt replaced. Luckily it wasn't the water pump! We do need to reorder some more engine bits as spares - having gone through many over the last three plus years.

Bits and pieces: Then there are all those little things that need a quick fix. Leaky hatches, leaky floors, restocking shelves and major cleaning. Luckily there is a laundry here and we have done loads and loads of wash. Mattress pads that got soaked and blankets that were salt watered have all gone through the wash cycles and dryer. It has been pretty damp outside with a steady drizzle, harder rain, fog or chill - that we were grateful for dryers! We continue to clean the interior and exterior of the boat.

We haven't seen much of NZ yet nor enjoyed the lovely hikes around this area. The goal is simply to get the priority boat projects done while in the slip and then get out of the marina to save some money and finish the rest of the jobs completed at anchor or while exploring the Bay of Islands.

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