Saturday, September 16, 2017

Mid September 2017: Back to Boat Business


Ghost Rider in the Foreground Approaching the PGA Bridge as We
Move from Loggerhead Marina Back to OPC Marina
What follows is the blog post we were originally composing when all hell broke loose with Hurricane Irma’s stroll up the Florida peninsula.  With that melee concluded and with Ghost Rider tucked back into her Yacht Tech slip at Old Port Cove Marina, we can return to our focus on the punch list of remediation / repair / upgrade tasks.

Looking back at what has been accomplished, we’re feeling pretty good about overall progress. We did get the main engine starter replaced (new, not rebuilt) shortly after it died a couple weeks ago. But then the following week the thruster control panel on the fly bridge developed a short that we had to manually bypass for a sea trial just before Irma rudely interrupted our refit task list.  And that had to wait until this weekend until all the post-storm movements and restorations had been completed.

As is typical of any punch list on a brokerage boat – particularly one that’s 15 years old – the items on that list are a mixed basket consisting of remediating survey items, repair needs that are discovered later, and then certain upgrades and personal preferences in how our boat is outfitted.  Here’s a sampling of what’s been accomplished thus far:
  • We had 6 main engine survey items to address; all are complete, including a couple of re-welds and a transmission oil change.
  • We had 2 generator survey items to address; now complete, including oil & filter changes.
  • We had 7 wing engine survey items to address; all those are done, including some hose replacements, solving a troublesome salt water weep at the shaft support mounts, and repairing the wiring harness going into the hydraulic clutch.
  • We had 18 general boat survey items to address; with the exception of a few cosmetic cleanup items, all of those are complete including a new bilge pump, freeing up some stiff thru-hulls, and replacing some bad GFCI outlets.
  • Tamed the main engine shaft’s stuffing box temperature for now – turns out that book-recommended 7/16” packing size is too big, but with a step down to 3/8” we got the temp down to 113F in 90 degree water at WOT; still requires monitoring for extended runs.
  • Plugged a rain water leak through the spotlight wiring hole (that also corroded the ST60 wind instrument, which we also cleaned up.)
  • Tracked down a fresh water leak below living quarters floors (turned out to be a loose fill line going into the forward water tank).
  • Replaced the leaking sump pump in the forward head.
  • Replaced a leaky feedback unit on the starboard stabilizer actuator.
  • Relocated the wing engine instrument panel to the eyebrow panel in the pilot house (where we could actually see it).
That Hole is Where the Wing Engine Instruments Were -- Perfect Location if
You are Two Feet Tall.

Wing Engine Panel Moved to the Eyebrow Panel - Given Its Role in Powering
Our Hydraulics, It's Important These Be Within Easy View
  • Replaced a leaking main engine muffler hose and double clamped it.
  • Replaced the fresh water accumulator tank (would not pressurize).
  • Mounted a permanent GPS tracking device with geofencing capabilities (insurance requirement).
  • Removed and shimmed the salon entry door so it wouldn’t drag / stick.
  • Removed and cleaned the Racor 500 fuel filter for the wing engine to clean up old algae buildup in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Installed a Linkpro battery monitor for the six house batteries.
  • Replaced the hydraulic cooling pump and flushed out its discharge line.
  • Replaced two defective coils on the bow and stern thrusters.
  • Removed all inline hydraulic pressure gauges (each a potential failure point) with capped test ports.
  • Cleaned up the bow thruster compartment – treated some surface corrosion, cleaned up traces of old hydraulic leaks.
  • Replaced the LPG manifold and refilled the two tanks.
  • Cleaned out several sump / bilge pump strainers (yuck) and cleaned the bilge cavity (an equally yucky job).
  • Dumped the anchor chain on the dock and marked it at 25 and 50 foot intervals; also replaced the anchor with a Manson Supreme SS 100
  • Laying Out ALL the Anchor Chain on the Dock and Marking
    Increments with Colored Zip Ties
  • Repaired or replaced 4 deck courtesy lights, along with installing some new sink faucets, rugs, and assorted personalization tasks.
  • Cleaned up some surface corrosion of the aft fuel tank lines.
  • Replaced a faulty Aigean AN-7000 WiFi booster unit (a warranty item, yay!)
  • Replaced a cracked strainer housing on the low water bilge pump that was leaking into the lazarette.
  • Replaced the thruster control panel on the fly bridge….it was thoroughly corroded.
  • Procured a new E-Bike for Chelle for our anniversary.
Chelle's New Folding E-Bike -- It's a Battery Powered Magnum.  Chelle
Made the Boat-Bike Storage Rack Out of PVC Pipe.
While not a comprehensive list, hopefully this gives you an idea of what’s been going on with Ghost Rider II for the past six weeks – in parallel with the provisioning of the galley, and stocking spare parts, all sorts of tools and general supplies.  Well, all that and dealing with the crazy weather.

What remains?  It is now a much shorter list, but as of 17-Sep they include installing a cover plate over the hole where the wing engine instrument panel used to be, and then troubleshooting these remaining annoyances:
  • Intermittent coolant overflow from the main engine; could be just a combo of a bad pressure cap and excessive coolant level.
  • When we were running on generator only during the post-Irma power outage we noticed an occasional surge & dropout of generator power; need to check voltage levels.
  • The new LinkPro battery monitor gauge likely has some wiring issues….it was still showing 100% capacity after running some light loads on battery power during the Irma storm, which can’t possibly be reality.
  • An intermittent and slight leak from a raw water intake cooling hose for the main engine.

We ought to be able to knock those out within the week.  Of course there is also another list of relatively minor stuff that we would attack on our own while voyaging up or down the coast.  (There will always be a “list’.) 
Ghost Rider Approaching the Entry to OPC Marina.  (Pic Taken by Paul
of Yacht Tech from the Deck of N55 Giddy-Up.)

However, we still need to exercise patience with our cruising plans and keep a close eye on the tropics.  Since we have three named storms currently spinning in the Atlantic – with Jose tracking up and near the east coast, and Maria and Lee vectoring in its wake – there really isn’t anywhere we can go right now that is very appealing.

Lastly, a side note....Chelle drove back over to Fort Myers this weekend to check out the condo and car following Irma's spin through that area.  Other than having to remove some wet carpeting from the lanai and one missing fan blade that is in some other county by now, all looked good.  We are thankful.

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