The steady procession of boats passing Atlantic Yacht Basin on their way south for the winter has slowed dramatically. We, in contrast, have remained firmly attached to the dock here for the past 6 weeks. During that time we launched a number of projects on Tivoli, made our annual road trip to Memphis for routine annual doctor’s appointments, and explored a bit of the Outer Banks by car.
Our first boat project was to finally repair our stabilizers. Our port NAIAD stabilizer had been leaking grease since midway between Bermuda and Nova Scotia and we were running out. AYB happened to be the closest NAIAD service shop so it was time to get this critical piece of gear fixed. Tivoli was hauled and both fins removed, shafts removed, and bearings were repacked and reassembled; should be good to go. When we had Stabilized Marine install new seals a year ago they apparently didn’t notice some wear on the shaft where the seals sit. As a result, after less than 6 days of run-time sea water leaked through the bottom seals and slowly pushed grease out the top of the actuator housing. Fortunately the shaft position is adjustable so AYB moved the shaft slightly allowing the seals to ride on a pristine surface; that should solve the problem. We also replaced both feedback subassemblies; a constant source of maintenance for these stabilizers. And while we were out of the water we touched up our bottom pain and replaced zincs.
One more thing while we were out of the water. We launched a life-changing upgrade. For years now we’ve lamented the lack of a stern thruster on Tivoli. While we have become fairly adept at handling Tivoli in tight spaces without one, having a stern thruster makes life much easier and less stressful. The “back and fill” method only goes so far. So, we have just completed a major thruster refit. We replaced the original 24VDC ABT-Trac 10HP bow thruster with a 13.5 HP SidePower unit (the SEP210) and installed an 11 HP SidePower thruster (the SEP150) and tunnel on the stern. We opted for the proportional controllers as well. This upgrade gives us more horsepower in the bow thruster, a new stern thruster, proportional control (meaning we can use as little or as much thrust as needed rather than all or none which extends run time), and a control unit that displays remaining battery and temperature (the old bow thruster would simply fail without warning if an over-temp condition occurred). A hold function allows one to activate both thrusters to hold the boat against the dock allowing single-handed docking. We will also install a wireless controller allowing us to leave the pilothouse for better visibility when docking. This single upgrade to Tivoli will give us much more precise control of the boat in tight marinas and allow us to explore places we would bypass without it. Not to mention reducing the stress of docking. Sweet!
The last item getting attention before we head to Florida is the bow roller shaft. The anchor rollers tend to freeze up on the shaft when salt water precipitates out between the roller and shaft. Raising the anchor then rotates the shaft and, if one isn’t careful, spins the retaining nut off the shaft into the ocean…not that that has happened to us! So, we sent it to a machine shop to drill passages and install a grease zirt allowing us to easily lubricate the rollers (a solution I remembered from reading Dirona’s blog years ago); should solve that minor annoyance.
Today it’s Thanksgiving dinner with friends Bill and Lisa on Changing Course. Tomorrow we should be underway; heading to Fort Pierce for a couple months then probably to Eleuthera for some island time. Given the wide devastation in the Caribbean by the succession of hurricanes this past summer points further south are not good options this year. We had hoped to run down to the Turks and Caicos this winter but that may have to wait.