The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Friday, March 23, 2012

Furnishing 3 homes and work has kept me in a frenzy of activity lately, but I decided to visit the boat anyway.

The photograph depicts the morning's results (that's the port's lifeboat in the background).
Rattling transmission
Old transmission oil (mixed with diesel), cleaning fluid and garbage
First, I gave a translation the final reading and sent it off.

After that I ran the engine in gear for 10 minutes to stir and warm up the transmission oil.

Now, here's the tricky part. I read somewhere on the Internet that if you drained the oil, then added 1 litre of diesel and shifted the transmission back and forth at idle revs, it would clean out the gunk and you'd be all set again.

I was a little hesitant running the transmission filled with diesel - I mean, how much lubrication does that provide. But then, what did I have to lose?

Step 1: I poured the diesel in and started shifting, per instructions. Surprisingly, I got the old "clunk" noise back and better shifting action. I felt a ripple of pleasure and hoped for a miracle.

Step 2: Stopped the engine, drained the diesel and poured new type A automatic transmission oil into the old Hurth.

Step 3: Fired her up and it seemed to work better, but not as good as when filled with diesel. OK, but how far could you motor with a transmission full of diesel? I'd say about 2 or 3 miles.

On another note, I was told that the sailboat Sirius that collided with Jakatar a few months ago nearly hit me again. The owner is one of those "gun the engine" and hope for the best type of skippers. He lost his rudder again in the middle of the port and was towed to the outer side of the transient pontoon.
I heard he's leaving for Nazaré, what a relief.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Long Walk

I have plans for a new project.

When I woke up on Saturday, my mind slowly flooded with ideas, doubts and hesitations about my new venture. Soon enough a battle was raging in my mind between the pros and cons of this life-changing plan.

I wish I could announce that I'm sailing to Tahiti, but no, nothing that glamorous. I'm furnishing 2 apartments and 1 house to be rented to tourists. Probably just another dumb idea, another trap and time-wasting money-losing venture. But then, that's life!

Lying in bed is the worst place to make important decisions, so I went for a long walk on a grey day. Nothing like fresh air and physical action to gain some clarity.

Here's my long walk as I saw it:
Berlenga Islands
Outside town with a view of the Berlenga Islands
Paimogo Fort
Fort of Paimogo
Paimogo Bay
View of Paimogo Bay from the Fort's upper terrace

Fort cannons
Stone cannon supports
Café in Paimogo
Abandoned restaurant where I ate many times. The front facing the ocean is all in glass with a great ocean view.
Cliff erosion
This is why the restaurant was closed - the walls supporting the fort's yard are falling apart and rolling down the steep slope.
Rocky beach
A rocky outcrop in the bay
OK, so maybe I'll take the same photographs again on a sunny day. Heck, we've had nothing but sunshine for months. On the other hand, this is it, real life, not a magazine article.

The project is on, I'm going to walk the talk.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Transients are Coming!

Stopped at a gas station on the way to Peniche and bought 1 litre of concentrated antifreeze and 5 litres of distilled water (15 euros, ouch!). It costs over 90 euros to fill up the jeep, ouch, ouch, ouch! Good thing I work at home.

The transients are coming...and also leaving. Saw one leaving first thing in the morning.
Peniche marina
This English boat was leaving when I arrived
Got the laptop set up and began the nasty job of revising somebody else's amateurish translation. Worked tenaciously until lunch, occasionally distracted by fishing boat wakes and boards clanking against steel beams whenever someone walked down a pontoon. Working quietly down below, I can also hear boat engines whining like giant food grinders even if they're 100 m away or more.

Finished the revision at about 1:00 pm, just in time for lunch. It still needed the final reading, but I'd do that after lunch and after a walk around the marina to air out my mind.

Working on a boat
Salad, rice greens and fish fillets for lunch and...water. I drink wine at meals but decided to make boat day my water day.
During my marina walk I ran into Ryker who had been away in Holland for over a month. We caught up on new events, the usual marina gossip.

Back at the boat, I had an email concerning a 14,000-word translation for Friday (tomorrow). The agency knew that it was impossible so they asked me for my best deadline before replying to the client. My best deadline was Monday afternoon. That was no good, so they tried to spread it out among various translators, but that didn't work out either. No deal.

Gave the revision the final reading, then mailed it off and got to work on the cooling system.

Actually, all I did was mix 4 litres of distilled water with 1 litre of antifreeze and poured it into the expansion tank. Then I started the engine and added more liquid as the air got flushed out. I hadn't drained the engine block, so it took only 5 litres compared with the 8 quarts specified in the engine manual. I've been away from Canada so long I can't remember whether a quart is more or less than 1 litre. It's full, that's what matters!

[Note: a few days after this operation I learned how to drain the engine block while reading an on-line manual for a Beta Marine engine which also uses the Kubota block.]

Ran the engine for about 15 minutes and found no leaks anywhere. More water seems to be gushing out of the exhaust outlet into the ocean. Looks good.

In the meantime this beautiful Halberg Rassy came in.
Halberg Rassy 31
Halberg Rassy 31
When I walked over to have a look, I met Ryker on the way and we both went. The skipper, a very fit and dignified looking French gentleman (you know the look) pushing 70, I'd say, had singled handed from Northern France to here.

I asked him if he was going South. Yes, but only as far as Lisbon, 45 miles down the Coast, if you count the Cascais Marina as part of Lisbon.

Apparently this gentleman had sailed about 800 miles in late winter from Northern France to visit Lisbon. "I come to visit Lisbon," he said, "then I go back home."

If I were wearing a hat, I'd take if off!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Heat Exchanger Installation Completed

Finally, I got to work on the heat exchanger installation.

Work has been slow lately and, luckily, no translations came in during the day. Good to get my hands dirty and this project over with.

It's been said a thousand times, but I'll say it again: on a boat, what seems like a 1-hour job takes a whole day!

The procedure went like this: got three clamps, drilled a hole in each one and screwed them to the engine room panel; cut some rubber strips from an old fender for protection; placed the heat exchanger in place; tightened the clamps; cut and added hoses to fit new sizes and "presto,"  I was done. Sounds like a quickie, right? Wrong!

Installing a heat exchanger
Original location of the heat exchanger (the tube-like thing behind the engine)

Engine compartment
New location beside the engine (the tube with the white rubber protection strips)
I don't want to bore you with details describing how it took the whole day. Let's just say that it's a tight fit requiring a lot of measuring and head scratching, kneeling and leaning into the engine compartment. Just to give you an idea, I had to hold the tube (it's not light) in  place with two ropes so I could install it with both hands, while lying on my stomach and bracing myself on the engine with my left elbow. Ouch, ouch, the engine is hard as steel.

That's where an extra arm would come in handy to brace my body - nearly fell onto the engine head first a couple of times. Spent nearly an hour looking for a gasket I KNEW was on the boat somewhere, and finally found it concealed behind a stack of charts. What was I thinking, when I put it there in a bag with other gaskets and rubbery things?

Anyway, it's done, finished, finished, over with and looks good. And just in time too, because I now have a substantial translation for Monday, meaning that I'll have to work over the weekend.

When I arrived at the marina the large Dutch sailboat was gone (they were here for  a few months), a sailboat was leaving just as I arrived and then a large luxury sailboat came in at about 4:00 pm with what looked like a delivery crew.

Leaving the Peniche Marina
Youngish couple leaving early with a boat full of dreams