It took over 2 weeks of work, but Dave and George managed to finish almost all of the items on the laundry list needed to get Quicksilver ready to go. This included some significant items, such as completely replacing the AC wiring, grounding the DC circuit, installing fuses, re-plumbing the fuel line, mounting new bow and stern lights, and installing new LED cabin lights. There were some agonizing moments -- such as when the ignition switch failed and the engine wouldn’t start or when the watermaker wouldn’t work – that made it feel like the list was getting longer instead of shorter. However, by the end of stay, all major work was done and the systems were all working.
George was feeling pretty good about leaving for a planned weeklong vacation, as our stay with them came to an end, much more confident that Quicksilver would be ready to cast off shortly after their return.
the past 2 ½ years, we had been tying down our 4 flexible solar panels in their “temporary” location on the foredeck and on top of the dinghy. This didn’t look the best and frequently got in the way of launching the dinghy, opening hatches and just moving about on deck. So, with the extended time at George and Gail’s dock and the access to George’s Sailrite sewing machine, we decided to work on the more permanent solution to securing these panels. We had always wanted them on top of the bimini. This would put them out of the way and give them maximum, shadow-free exposure to the sun. The question was: how to do it? We talked through the options and what Cathy was able to execute with the supplies and sewing skills she had. The solution chosen was to attach straps with Velcro hook to the solar panels and Velcro loop strips onto the bimini. While the bimini was off the boat, Cathy also re-stitched some worn seams and added a new “channel” to allow the solar panel wires to run back through the cockpit to the companionway, but still out of the way of our movement in the cockpit.
The night after putting the panels in place, a classic Chesapeake thunderstorm moved through as a cold front approached. Holding nothing back, the wind began to toss Orion around, shortly after the rain began to fall. Cathy threw on her raincoat and scurried up on deck to see what had happened to the solar panels. Not good news. The starboard pair had slipped off and were hanging over the lifelines, secured only by a cable tie. She grabbed them and called for Dave to help bring them down to weather the storm.
Given all the work to sew all the straps and Velcro, Cathy was at a loss to suggest a fix for the problem. After some more thought, Dave decided that we needed to help secure them with some line. He tied them down to the bimini supports and we’ve had no problems since. Let’s hope they stay put from now on.
As we left the Bahamas at the end of March, our inverter failed, causing us to return it for a replacement under warranty. We were treated very well by the company, whose representatives ended up sending us 2 different inverters, although both were not exactly what we needed. So, we sold these and replaced them with a new 1200W inverter from Vector. However, it wasn’t going to be as simple as disconnecting the old inverter and connecting the new one. Since the new unit’s dimensions differed from the one it replaced, Dave needed to find a new board to mount it on and seal the wood before mounting it on the engine room wall. A bigger deal was the fact that the connections were different, so the original wires had to be replaced with new ones. Given the heavy wire, Dave needed to get some help crimping on the connections required. He was finally able to get help with this from Steven’s Battery Warehouse while we were in Pasadena.
So, we had the unit mounted and the wires with the right connectors. It should be a simple install, right? Well, maybe not.
As Dave was connecting the last of the wires, which happened to be the ground, the post on the inverter broke. To say he was upset would be an understatement. After opening up the back of the inverter to see how the ground post was connected, it appeared a relative easy fix. The grounding wire inside had a ring terminal that could simply be attached to the right size bolt. So, we found one in our supplies, along with the necessary nuts and washers, turning what appeared to be a disaster into a relatively easy fix. Dave powered the unit up, we plugged in a light and – Voila – it worked.
So, we won’t have to go without ice and blended drinks this winter. Isn’t that great?
Other Boat Stuff
- In the process of working with George on Quicksilver, Dave helped to add fuses to the battery connections, per a recommendation in his survey. In thinking this through with George, he decided it was a good idea to do the same on Orion. So he ordered some fuse holders and inserted them in all the positive wires leading from the battery.
- Cathy took advantage of the cooler weather and some sunny days to refresh the Cetol on the port caprail and the swim platform.
- Dave once again sealed the cracks in the box that houses the generator.
- Piggybacking on another recommendation from George, we got two of our fire extinguishers inspected and tagged to reflect this.
After having skipped last year’s Boat Show, we were looking forward to checking it out again this year. We had a new list of things we were looking for, but nothing major. One item that was not on our list was a sea drogue. (This is something like a parachute that you drag behind the boat in heavy seas to keep the bow into the waves.) However, we stumbled across a vendor selling one for an incredible price. There were two versions: one with a point of attachment for a float and one without. We decided to buy the one without the attachment point. Cathy later sewed some webbing onto the drogue to enable a float to be added before it would be deployed. Now, let’s hope we never use it.
We had planned to move Orion south to Solomons the weekend of Cathy’s birthday. However, the weather gods didn’t cooperate. Since we still wanted to visit Don and Cindy and the kids, we rented a car and drove south. We had a wonderful visit with them, enjoying a fall picnic and bonfire, pumpkin picking and a walk on the beach at Point Lookout on a beautiful fall weekend. It was a great way to spend a birthday.
Now, we just need to bring Orion back this way.