Day 8, Year 2: Canning, Painting, Chain Plate, and Windlass
Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Weather Today: Another Foggy Morning, but Sunny Day
Location: Opua, New Zealand

Today was a day of canning and painting, continuing to check out the stress cracks in the headstay chainplate, and reinstalling the windlass with the new motor. There was some drama, but all ended well. Mark started the day by heading out in the fog as thick as pea soup. He was supposed to be at Opua Engineering by 8 AM to pick up Michael Scott, the marine engineer, and bring him out to look at those stress cracks in the headstay chain plate. Yesterday we took pictures as recommended by David Laux, so Mark also took in the camera with those pictures. Michael was there when Mark arrived, but he said he didn’t even need to come out to see the cracks. He was absolutely sure that what we have discovered are not stress cracks, but simply cracks in the metal from the original bending process. He said stainless doesn’t develop stress cracks. Rather, if it cracks, it breaks right away. He did look at the pictures Mark had taken, and this further convinced him that we really don’t have a problem. He said that if we really wanted to do something, it would be good to seal the cracks by welding over them. With that information, Mark came back to the boat and emailed Dave Laux back in Delaware and attached the pictures. We really trust Dave and wanted one more opinion before heading out tomorrow. Dave emailed back by the end of the day and said he agreed with the opinion from Opua Engineering. He recommended grinding down the cracks to get rid of them, but he said he thought we were just fine for now. So we are going to leave for Fiji without doing anything about the issue and either grind down or weld the cracks when we reach Fiji. Again, thanks to Dave Laux for coming through with expert opinion in a timely fashion. We really appreciate it.

Around 9 AM Ranger called and wanted to know if we needed any last provisions. Their crew for the trip to Fiji arrived yesterday, and they were all going to Kerikeri to shop. I did have a couple of small requests, but what I really needed was to borrow Marie’s pressure canner. That was fine with her, but we needed to go in to get it before they left for the shopping trip. So we got in the dinghy and went in to the marina. We picked up the pressure canner, Mark went to Customs, and I took a shower. Then it was back to Windbird. I had made arrangements to call my friend Linda Stuart from Concord on Skype at 10 AM, and it was already 10:20 when we got back to the boat. Linda and I had a great conversation, and then it was time to get to work on canning the spaghetti sauce. While I was doing this, Mark was working on installing in the windlass with the new motor. As instructed he used lots fo chaulk to make sure no water could seep in from the mounting. He made sure all the wiring was correct and then stepped on the button to engage the windlass. Immediately, the breaker blew. This is exactly what had been happening before the installation of the new $1200 motor. Needless to say, he was not happy. He checked all electrical connections and found no problems, so he got in the dinghy and went into Opua Engineering to see if they had any ideas. They said that it couldn’t be the motor. The problem must be in the electrical system–probably a breaker too small for the new motor. Mark returned and by-passed the breaker. Still nothing. so he had to uninstall the whole thing. All of that chaulk made a really great mess, but we got it cleaned off with mineral spirits and he loaded it back in the dinghy and went back to Opua Engineering. While Mark was gone, I called Justin. He and Jo seem to be doing really well. We had a great conversation and Mark made it back in time to join in.

Meanwhile, Mark met with the guy who had connected the new motor to the gear box. He realized that he had removed the springs that hold the motor brushes in place and had forgotten to put them back. He replaced them and Mark returned and reinstalled the windlass. It does now work, but there was a time in there when we were pretty shook thinking we had bought a new motor for no reason. Everything is installed now and we are ready to go.

Canning the spaghetti sauce took longer than expected and painting the shower stall and under the aft bathroom sink were messier than I remembered from a day or so ago, but that is all done now. By the time all of this was done, it was time to go in to the Cruising Club for happy hour and dinner. We also took in one last laundry load. We had a nice time talking with good friends and sat with Ranger and their new crew members for dinner. A few boats left today–Moorea, Zafarse, and Shoestring. More than twenty boats are leaving tomorrow, so tonight we all said farewell, fair winds, and “See you in Fiji.”

070502 Day 8 New Zealand–Windlass Installation