Still at the dock!

We have had to wrestle Anui again. She keeps reminding us she is an 18 year old lady which was starved of TLC for a couple of years. Mainsail replacement, A frame replacement, re-bedding of the Perspex on all the hatches and now replacement of half of the flexible solar panels are some of the unexpected tasks we have had to tackle.

Anui, back at the dock at RQYS

Since acquiring her, we have spent somewhere between a fair amount of money and an awful lot of money. Once you start, you have to keep going! So no “adventure” post yet, more “boat maintenance” posts. We were hoping to take off for Lord Howe Island on Sunday with a weather window of north-easterlies, but it won’t be happening quite so soon! So let us describe our latest woes.

Although the A frame has been constructed, it has yet to be anodised. Our rigger Scott at SK Yacht Rigging has done a great job. It has a wider base, stronger frame and rounded rollers where the mooring ropes pass. It might be ready to install early next week. Scott calls it the seagull striker – which at least made us smile. Not much else does at the moment!

Next big hassle: the electrical problems. We noticed that lately we were not producing as much power as we should have. Unable to figure out why, we got an electrician, Dean of Electech at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron to investigate. He found that some of the wiring to the power board was loose, two of the circuit breakers got fried as a result which could have easily started a fire, and two of our flexible solar panels were dead.

One fried circuit breaker

Dean installed two new circuit breakers and tightened up all wiring connections. However we were still left with the dodgy panels.

The failure of two solar panels is particularly disappointing since we had a brand new bank of flexible panels “professionally” connected in January. There is very mixed feedback about flexible solar panels amongst yachties and the electricians told us in no uncertain terms they are totally unreliable. The previous owner of Anui had problems with them and now we too are having hassles. On one hand we like their thin, lightweight and flexible profile that follows the curve of the roof without the need for a bulky and heavy mounting frame. But on the other hand we can’t afford to keep having to replace these with all the associated marina costs. We need reliable power generation, so changes are afoot.

Typically you see traditional rigid solar panels installed on a targa bar on the back of yachts. Wade likes them, but big frames at the back of a boat are one of my pet hates. We had one on Take It Easy and I disliked it a lot. These are heavy looking, put weight at the back of the boat, block the view from the saloon and change the overall look of the boat. Not what we want for Anui.

Here is what we have decided. Currently we have eight flexible panels, four on the cockpit roof, and four on the cabin roof. We are going to remove the four flexible panels from the cockpit roof, and have two large and more powerful glass panels installed in roughly the same space. The flexible panels we remove and are working fine will be fitted where two of our failed ones are on the cabin roof, and we will end up with two spares if or rather when the others fail. Over time, we probably will end up with four glass panels instead of the eight flexible ones. Not as sleek looking, but we will gain guaranteed efficiency.

One of the two faulty flexible solar panel removed.

So we are at the RQYS in Manly for at least another week. I am not crying, just got something in my eye… It is lucky Cut Loose‘s pen is still available. They too are spending more time at the shipyard than expected! We have to be thankful for small mercies.

19 thoughts on “Still at the dock!

  1. Wow that is disappointing. Let’s hope that will be the end of all the improvements and repairs. You will be so relieved when you finally set sail for Lord Howe.

  2. I understand your frustration Chris. Let’s hope that everything will help you to have a safer and stronger Anui. Take care my friend. 🙂

  3. What a hassle! You will really appreciate the breeze in your face when you finally set sail. Safe travels ⛵️

    • You are so right Caroline! We are itching to leave, but not before everything is ship shape. Power generation is a critical issue for us, so no choice but to get this sorted.

  4. First of all I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Cheers!

    • Thank you for the kind feedback. It is really lovely when readers take the time to comment and I am delighted you like the blog.

      Writing is something that comes easily to me, although I do spend a lot of time on drafts. The first thing I put down is never what ends up being posted. I like to just make a start then refine multiple times. I capture thoughts, events and feelings as we travel in a notebook and work at the posts from there. Hope this helps.

    • Yes Merde is what I say! And now we have more of these flexible failing so we are trashing the lot! But at least we will get reliable gear!

  5. Argh. We have flexible panels and although they haven’t been pulling in a lot, if we weren’t using computer power they would probably be enough. I am sorry you having trouble with them. We will be interested to see how you go with the new ones.

  6. Hi Chris
    Glad you managed to have precious time with you father, it sounds like he has a very strong spirit it must have been wonderful spending time with him & your family in France. I’m sure he must enjoy hearing about yours & Wades adventures. I’m sorry to hear Anui is presenting a few major teething challenges but once these things are changed to yours & Wades liking you can rest knowing that the changes make her the boat you will spend many years enjoying further adventures in. She looks like a true gem. Good luck & soon to be, happy travels. Lindy & Phil

    • Thank Lindy – really lovely to get your comment. The time spent with Dad was very good. He needs to be strong as he is restarting chemo. The latest news from the specialist were not so good.
      Re Anui you are right, we will have her functioning as we wish even if the path to get there is harder than we expected. Hopefully we are getting close to sailing off time! You and Phil must be getting close to a change of pace. Take care and enjoy life and each other as my Dad would say.

  7. Hi guys,
    I am so sorry to hear about the ongoing issues with Anui.

    It does seem like a bottomless pit and is so stressful when things go wrong. We ended up with new motors, bearers, fridge repair, oven repair (still doesn’t work – but had to stop throwing money at it) etc, etc and at times it seemed like I was going mad.

    Everytime the mechanic/ electrician. etc would call me and start a sentence with “we have a problem” my heart would sink and many things would get in my eye. (Must have been all the dust from the boatyard / ash coming from the BHP burn tower that was covering our beautiful boat in dirt) 😦 Went from 6 weeks tied up to 4 months.

    But it did work out all right in the end and I am sure when you are back out on the ocean the challenges will fade into memory. I look forward to hearing about you dropping lines and heading to Lord Howe and your adventures there.
    Sending you lots of positive thoughts and big hugs.
    Natalie and Brad

    • Hi Nat and Brad! We can feel the good thoughts and hugs, thank you! You know even with all the grief with Anui, we still are amazed we have scored her. She is such a stunner and sails beautifully. We’ve just got to get her right for us. Hopefully after next week all will be good.

  8. Hi Chris & Wade, That is so disappointing to have the flexible panels fail so early. I feel for you with all the unexpected repairs. The sweet times must be close!

    • Hi Graham, let’s hope so! We have delayed our trip to Lord Howe, but still hoping to get a weather window to get there in April. Since writing the post we have had more panels fail so have removed all of them and ordered standard ones which will be installed later this week. We want reliability to be self- sufficient. It’s one of those critical systems!

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