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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

9/7/2010 - A wet one

We got rain today. I guess that's pretty normal for the Oregon Coast but, after a perfect Labor Day weekend we somehow expected the warm and sunny weather to continue. Oh well, the rain just served to remind us that we need to keep moving on south.

Lulu did the laundry today and I attacked the electrical gremlin issue. I've got the finest minds in the land working on this. Lee, fellow Westsailor and retired water/wastewater operator (and we know how smart those guys are), Gary, fellow Westsailor and professional electrician, and Scott, former classmate and general brain all agree that the most likely cause is a flaky ground. My job was to either find and fix the ground or prove that everything was so copasetic that it couldn't possibly be the ground.

I climbed into the engine room since that's where a lot of the connections are made. And, by the way, the engine room is way drier today than it was after our previous passage even though we had a lot of water sloshing around in the cockpit on the way here. I guess my new tie-down strategy worked. It wasn't what I originally envisioned but it worked better. I used a couple of the latches that Westsail used on the forward hatch of these boats to secure the cockpit sole hatch. I have to climb into the engine room to tighten or loosen the latches but that's a small price to pay for having a watertight hatch.

But, I digress. I was talking about checking the ground connections. I checked all the connections on the main buss and both sub-busses and all seemed plenty tight. I didn't remove every wire to check and see if there was any signs of corrosion around the terminal ends but, even if there was, it wouldn't cause the problems we've had where all the lights and the stereo shut down. It needs to be a connection that is common to all the lights, radio, etc. I did find that the wire connecting one of the sub-busses to the main buss was loose because the stud it was attached to would turn along with the hold-down nut so that the connection was never really tight. I fixed that and, while I was at it, replaced the connecting wire with a robust #8 copper wire with big beefy terminal ends. Went ahead and did that to the other sub-buss as well. Now it's just a matter of waiting to see if the problem recurs. Even if this fixes the problem, I'm not sure how long we'll have to wait before we're convinced that the problem is fixed.

Tonight we had fellow Westsailor Lee Perry over for dinner. His wife is out of town so we figured we'd feed him up although, being a guy who does ocean crossings single-handed, I'm sure he's perfectly capable of feeding himself. But we just wanted to visit with him some more and pick his brain. He brought his computer with him and showed us several slide shows of his trips down the coast, cruising in Mexico, and cruising in Hawaii. I'm inspired all over again. Never really considered a stop in Hawaii before but Lee's pictures convinced me that it'd be worth the trip.

Weather's improving (although it's raining) but we're going to stay here one more day anyway. Thursday is calling for only a slight chance of rain. Wind and seas should be good as well. We still have a couple things to take care of while we're here. I need to enter a bunch of waypoints on the paper chart as well as plot the courses in to several harbors along the way. I also need to build a short stool to use in the cockpit so I can see over the freakin' dodger better. Lulu wants to get her hair cut and would also like another day to let things dry out. When she did the laundry today she didn't want to dry our foul weather gear in a hot dryer so she just tumbled them for awhile. Now they need some hanging-up drying time. So, one more day in Harbor. The flood tide (when it's safest to cross the bar) is from 7:00 AM to 12:50 PM on Thursday so there's no all-fired hurry to get up early and get going which will be nice.

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