Anyone for brain surgery

Generally I’m quite a positive person or so I like to think, but a run of annoying problems had me despairing last week, the cutless bearing, the watermaker motor / gearbox, all things I felt were out of my control and required me to bring the experts in. Normally I see most things as a challenge I can overcome,  normally I would take the view, as made famous in “The boys from the black stuff” with the phrase  ‘Gizz a job, I can do that’. For example, if I was a long way offshore, and I had a mad headache problem requiring surgery, I’d be up for a go. I mean how difficult can it be, I know doctors spend five years + studying, but I gather a lot of that time is spent doing practical jokes on each other, and anyway I bet there’s a whole stack of videos / tutorials on brain surgery on youtube these days. So Friday dawned and it was with this renewed attitude I went back to the watermaker. I’m saying nothing, but check out the video below!

It doesn’t actually make water yet, a trivial point, but it does pump sea water around the system at 800PSI (ish) and brine / sea water is returning from the membrane.
I was able to tease the old brushes out of the motor, and clean it all up quite well, I think the pump does need to be replaced at some point, but I left the motor running for an hour and it didn’t get hot or make any funny noises so I think it has some life in it yet. The main problem now is, 1) the pump needs the seals replacing, I have 2 seal replacement kits on board. 2) the Membrane needs replacing, I can’t be sure, but everything I have read says it has to be stuffed, especially as 3) some of the pipes in the system have started to dissolve and produce an oily black substance from their inner rubber lining, so all the piping has to be changed. I’m hoping to pick up the bits I need on Tuesday when we go into Singapore.

Last Thursday I took a cab over to the boatyard, it’s 40 minutes by road, about 14nm away, but I will have to take the boat all the way around Singapore because of the causeway being in the way. Thats more like a 10 hour trip for me. What’s worse is that the entrance to the boatyard is very shallow, and I have to wait for spring tides to get in, which is another 10 days away, this means that by the time we launch, we will be much further into the cyclone (aka hurricane) season here and the trip north will have more chance of bad weather. Fortunately cyclones are big business here, they are regular each year and do lots of damage so there is a lot of support available. Forecasting is very good, protected harbours are available to jump into, so most of the time it’s not a big deal. Of course there’s always the chance of an unpredictable storm, and a boat problem combining to bring grief, but lets not look on the gloomy side. I’m picking up a new bearing in Singapore on Tuesday, and a spare, incase I should take up fishing again 🙁 It’s not going to cost that much to haul, and do the job, there’s even a chance It might be something we can do in the slings, but unlikely.

Of course the main event of the week/month, if we put the watermaker to one side, was the return of Kathy. I met her in KL yesterday and we flew back, after a much delayed flight, to the boat. It’s great to have Kathy back, and she brought lots of goodies as well. Sadly the missing blade for the wind generator, which the astute of you will have spotted, was 20cm short, can’t see that working. but I have lots of bits to fit to the boat now to make it just that little bit better, a lot of USB charging sockets is one of these additions! I also have a lovely new iPhone, so lots of pictures now. Thanks to Yaz and Chris for sorting that out, it’s only when you need a replacement phone and you live in another country that you see how mad things can be, the old phone couldn’t be posted back, required by the insurers, no carriers will take phones as air cargo at this end. Then the phone comes unlocked, but locks itself to a network, which then has to be unlocked. Then you need a human to transport it back as carry on. What a lot of bother, I’m definitely not jumping into the marina again with it in my pocket.
I expect it won’t be long before Kathy posts her thoughts on Puteri Harbour, she likes it more than me.
I’m spending tomorrow working on the SSB radio, I have just learnt how to use the tuning, and how the bands work, I need to get the wefax and pactor working now. I also need to get the satphones out and fired up before I go into Singapore.

Paul Collister

5 thoughts on “Anyone for brain surgery”

  1. Hi Paul and Kathy,
    what you are suffering from is good old Murphy/Sods law or in proper terminology C Northcote Parkinsons ‘Natural
    Perversity of Inanimate Objects’ that’s means if it can go wrong it will and usually in the worst place at the most
    inconvenient time.
    However it is telling you something positive that is you have to take your time and plan as carefully as you can. Nothing
    is going to work out smoothly or completely the tradesmen that you need to help you will take care of that. The weather that is approaching is unforgiving and you are two people in a big boat to you but small to Mr Typhoon.
    Your water system is telling you that it needs to be replaced completely so do it rather than the bit that is easiest.
    you don’t want to have bad digestives on top of engineering woes.
    I feel like your parents giving you all this OAP advice but I enjoy reading of your progress through the South China Sea
    and Straits of Malacca et. al. and want it to continue so get the thing fixed properly there’s a good lad.
    Off to Berlin tomorrow for a few days of Teutonic Museums and maybe some fine beers.
    Take care both of you and I look forward to the next episode.
    Pete, Joan, and Jenny

    1. Hi Peter,
      I will have replaced the watermaker system completely by the time I finish. I will order a new motor when I get it all working, and probably keep one of them as a spare. once I change the seals on the pump it should be good for at least another ten years, the seals actually are supposed to be changed quite frequently, every few thousand hours of operation. The rest is just pipes and the membrane housing. I do need to get a TDS Meter, apparently there are lots of cheap ones around that aren’t very accurate, but that will give me the best indication of water quality.
      Enjoy Berlin, I’m looking forward to visiting the city some day soon, there was some big wall there last time I visited, I understand it’s gone now 😉
      Cheers.

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