Monday, June 23, 2014

Season Two Metrics

As the 2nd season of sailboat cruisin' ends, Rob thought it might be interesting to compare some metrics.

        Season ending in      2013   2014
Nautical Miles traveled    3186   1950
Months since SF                9.5       22
Countries Visited                 2        1
Anchorages/Marinas          53       25
Engine Hours                    329     261
Generator Hours               156       66
Diesel Fuel Consumed      684     455 (see fuel costs below)
Gasoline Consumed         ~45     ~40
Gallons of water made    ~450    ~400
Photos taken                  ~9000    4272
Fish caught                      ~20         5
Keepers:                             3          1

Whaleshark encounters      0          5
Exchange rate:      11.29 - 13.25  12.65-13.38

Our cruising route for the 2013-2014 season.  Our South most location was Barra de Navidad on the mainland and Santa Rosalia in the Sea of Cortez to the North.  1950 miles

Some say that cruising is about "fixing boats in exotic locations".   It is true that we are always solving some type of boat problem.  Some big some small,  some we are prepared for and some we are not.
Here is a list of stuff we encountered this season.
  • Popped a fender.  The surge in Paradise Village's marina (Nuevo Vallarta) gave our fenders a work out.  One couldn't take it any more.  
  • Water maker membrane.  We have been experiencing climbing TDS in our water that we make onboard.  TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) is a measure of how pure your water is.  We never experienced a dangerous level but the cleaning solutions that are supposed to help only helped a little bit.  We don't have any records on how old the membranes are so we'll replace them with new ones next season
  • Generator.  Our Onan 6KW generator was spewing black smoke and was not happy with AC loads over 2KW.  After much diagnosis and a trip to the shop to test the injectors, there was nothing obviously wrong.  Curiously the more I ran the generator the healthier it got.  Over the season we ran a total of 66 hours and we can now pull full power off the generator.  I suspect we had a fouled exhaust valve that eventually cleared  with more use.  This problem ended up not being a problem at all but I spent days and days working on it.
  • Engine Battery volt meter - the volt meter is off.  When the alternator is charging at 28.5 volts the meter is reading 32 volts.  Easy swap with a new part when we return next season.
  • Perkins exhaust elbow developed a leak -  This is a common failure on boats.  The mixing elbow is where hot engine exhaust gasses meet cooling salt water in a cast aluminum fitting.  After a while the aluminium corrodes until a leak develops.  This part lasted 17 years and 2800 engine hours. I made a temporary repair with JB Weld and were able to use the engine, at reduced speed for the last 1 1/2 weeks of the trip.  There are many welding resources in La Paz. Update: This exhaust elbow is already fixed and back on the engine.  We'll bring a proper replacement down next season.
  • 24 Volt Alternator "Let all the smoke out" -  When the exhaust elbow failed it sprayed salt water into the engine room and onto the alternator.  In fact it was the smoke detector in the engine room that alerted me to the problem.   The alternator failed continued to charge the batteries after it smoked but also began radiate a huge amount of electro magnetic radiation.  Many electronics onboard were impacted.  Most noticeably was the auto pilot.  When the alternator energized the autopilot changed course erratically.  Swapped with spare
  • Refrigeration raw water circulation pump - died.  Replaced with spare
  • Windlass controls started blowing fuses - after a lot of debug and several 5 amp fuses we tracked down a suspect wire that runs from the control box to the deck switch.  Rewired for fix.
  • Main furler busted - Shindig has "in mast furling".   The bolt that holds the main foil to the top of the mast corroded through and snapped.  This is a unique fitting and the company that made it is no longer in business.  Fortunately there is a guy in Maryland that is very knowledgeable on this system and has replacement parts.  This is a tricky fix as a stainless bolt broke off in an aluminium  extrusion.   I will be shortening the foil by 2 3/4 inches and adding that amount to linkage at the bottom of the foil at the adjustment linkage. (see photo below)
  • Two of three 24V engine blowers failed.   These two failed within hours of each other.
We've had our share of problems and they mostly happened during the second half of our trip in the Sea of Cortez.   These things happen and you deal with them as they come.  The good news is that there are great resources in Mexico to help with things that are over my head. Additionally, since we are seasonal cruisers, we have the ability to bring down replacement parts from the US every season to keep everything running smooth.  

This is the bolt that sheared at the top of the mast.  You can see that the bearing is rusted.

Bolt sheared at the top of the main furler

Old and newly machined toggle to fix the main furler.  The top was shortened by 2.75 inches and the new toggle makes up for that

Mixing up JB weld to patch a hole in the exhaust elbow

Mixing elbow patch and clamped.  This make shift repair lasted until we returned to LaPaz.

Here is the repaired part before re installing it.

Fuel cost:

11/28/2013   LaPaz  $3.88
12/18/2013  LaCruz $3.88
12/18/2013  LaCruz $4.16
1/27/2014  Barra de  Navidad  $3.66

2/24/2014LaCruz $4.43

4/16/2014  LaPaz  $4.29

 Santa Rosalia  $3.82  (from  Pemex)

6/2/2014  LaPaz $4.17

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