Monday, April 18, 2016

A Mid-April Update

SuziQ & Gal Pals
While we are remaining docked for the month of April, it nonetheless is a very busy month.  Michelle’s mom (Charmaine) came to visit us for several days, and as is her custom, immediately pitched in helping us with some key boat tasks. Those included making a new custom cover for the m
Outnumbered....Big Time
attress in the forward berth, plus a very nice Sunbrella storage bag for our flopper-stopper.  She should visit more often.

We also enjoyed a visit by Rick’s daughter (Suzi) and two of her good gal pals (Tammy & Madie); they had escaped the chilly environs in St. Louis and Chicago and were rewarded with perfect south Florida weather for their beachcombing, kayaking and related tourista activities.

New Slip @ Legacy
We also moved the boat to a new (and much more convenient) slip at Legacy Harbour – it’s a much shorter walk now, which is good with all the provisioning we’ve got going on. And, of course, we are concurrently knocking out our maintenance activities….so far this month these have been concluded or are underway:

·        We relocated the ship’s flag pole from the transom up to the aft end of the boat deck; Old Glory looks better up high, plus it no longer whacks Michelle in the face when she’s working the lines & fenders in the cockpit.
·        We replaced the two house batteries that went tango uniform on us during the Key West return sortie; those 8D AGMs weigh in @ 160 lbs each, so it’s no fun getting those removed / replaced; we’re hoping we’re done with battery games for a few years, my shoulder joints are complaining.

·        We had much of the boat’s holding (black water) tank electrical hardware overhauled – new float assemblies, new level indicator panel, and new discharge pump switch; we finally just got tired of trying to troubleshoot & repair existing parts, and almost nothing will ruin a voyage quicker than black water malfunctions.

·        We replaced the generator’s air filter, and changed its oil and oil filter…it was a few hours overdue by the time we returned from Key West, so it was good to get that taken care of before our next journey starts.

·        After several DIY attempts at adjusting the wing engine’s stuffing box, we threw up our hands and hired a local diesel tech to come out & overhaul the box.  Unfortunately there is a serious design flaw of the wing engine shaft on the N47 – basically you can’t get the box’s flange all the way off due to interference from the oil pan; we left it at its loosest possible position to see if we can generate any cooling flow on our next sortie, but a permanent fix is going to require a haul out.

·        We hired out a complete exterior detailing – from bow to stern, and from fly bridge to the waterline - including a thorough soapy bath, light oxidation buffing & stain removal, metal polishing, hand waxing the gelcoat to the rub rail, and then Awlgrip polishing the painted hull.  That’s in progress this week, so Ghost Rider will be looking spiffy in a few days, or as the old salts like to say, “Bristol”.

·        We scheduled our trusty Yamaha mechanic (Tom Imrie @ Andalusia Mobile Marine) to perform a complete annual / 100 hour service on the dinghy’s 40HP outboard motor next week; we plan to anchor out a good bit this year and want a reliable tender, and we know Tom’s quality work from our Grady-White fishing days.

·        Last but not least, we are in the process of configuring our new Wheelhouse Technologies Marine Maintenance System (SM).  This software will provide us with a very customized framework with which we can schedule and track all of Ghost Rider’s maintenance tasks and recommended spare parts inventory covering virtually every system & component on the boat. 

And based on the Wheelhouse “maintenance forecast” report for the next 3 weeks, we’ll remain very busy before we depart here in early May.