More fu@$ing maintenance

Surf roaring after the East Coast Low, waiting for it to abate before we could head off again… Might as well use the time to carry out yet more maintenance. This time it is a mix of prevention and fixing unexpected breakages. This is the list for this week:

  • Halyards and sheets replaced (Main, screecher, jib, spinnaker)
  • Shattered solar panel replaced
  • Starboard engine hatch resealed (it was leaking in the engine compartment)
  • Starboard engine impeller replaced (we did the port one last month)
  • Second broken alternator bracket replaced (we did the other one two weeks ago)
  • Mainshaft drive key replaced on anchor winch

Most weeks as you have probably gathered, we tackle small but incessant maintenance jobs and sometimes more substantial ones too. We keep reminding ourselves that we are in a harsh environment, using the boat constantly, not just on the odd weekend or holiday trip and thus there is a lot of wear and tear. But there are times when the frequency and intensity of the maintenance gets to us. It feels like we have been buffeted of late.

Take the latest hassle. We thought that the sea gods were smiling upon us… We had finished everything on Monday, after a quick dash to Boat Works in the dinghy to pick up our spares and new alternator bracket. We had said our goodbyes to our friends on Sengo. And we had even caught up with our friend John on his Outremer catamaran Alidade, which was an unexpected pleasure. But no, the gods were not smiling, they were irritating us! As we were lifting the anchor up to leave Paradise Point the anchor winch decided to stop hauling the last few meters of chain. We were off the bottom so motored away and went to anchor close to the Seaway, as we were intending to leave the Gold Coast the next day. We used a spare anchor and chain to do so and it took a few attempts for the anchor to stick. By the time we were settled it was dark and too late to investigate the offending winch. Next morning we did and found a main shaft drive key was broken. It had happened to us before so fortunately we knew the process and had a spare! But it took several hours to manage the fiddly disassembly and reassembly of the winch.

Plenty of swearing emanating from that hatch!

People often ask us about the maintenance costs. On average you should factor in about 6 to 8% of the boat’s purchase price for on-going maintenance per year if you do a lot of the work yourself, and about twice that if you outsource everything to the professionals.

On the move again

Having done our repairs, we left the Broadwater via the Gold Coast Seaway albeit a few hours later than planned.

Leaving the Gold Coast in sunshine

We were headed for the top of Moreton Island, about 60 nm. The ocean was still quite agitated from the East Coast Low, very confused and uncomfortable.

As the day developed we lost the blue sky, the ocean became inky black under the cover of threatening skies. It was striking and ominous yet hauntingly beautiful.

Looking ominous!

We were keeping an eye out for whales and had a few close encounters later in the afternoon when the light was poor and the beasties difficult to see! When you hear their loud breath next to the boat before you spot them, they are uncomfortably close!

Another close encounter… you can see the barnacles!

We got to our anchorage at Yellow Patch in the dark on instruments, but having been there a few times before, it was just fine.

Yellow Patch at the northern tip of Moreton Island the morning after

The next morning we were off to Mooloolaba, about 30 nm. It was a very nice sail in a more settled sea – top speed 16 knots surfing waves, but raining a lot! What would you rather, sea sickness and slow poking or sogginess and speed?

Arriving at Mooloolaba

As we were totally disinterested in anchor dragging and derelict boats dodging sessions at the Duck Pond (an anchorage in the Mooloola River basin) we booked a spot at the marina for the rest of the week. We are here for our six monthly skin examination and usual medical check ups, provisioning for the Reef and waiting for the bad weather to ease as we are not particularly keen on sailing in heavy rain! Let’s hope the Sunshine Coast lives up to its name soon. And yes, we are getting soft!

At least Mooloolaba is a nice spot.

18 thoughts on “More fu@$ing maintenance

  1. Welcome to windy, rainy, wet Mooloolaba. We are tied up just down the finger from you and waiting for a weather window to head north. Not looking good for a while according to the forecasts. Time for reading and boat work, albeit inside work!
    No whales for us coming from Scarborough but lots when we left Port Stephens. Beautiful photos, always inspiring. All the best with boat work and other priorities.
    Richard and Judi (Imagine)

  2. Sogginess and speed is good ! (With the right clothing, of course !)
    I’ve been into maintenance, but without much sailing recently.
    Hope your medicals & little stay in Mooloolaba all go well. (One fav place)

    • Hi Doug.. agreed with sogginess and speed with the right wet weather gear! Spending a few days here while the weather is awful and of course there is more work to do on the boat!

  3. I hope your repairs soon get less so you can enjoy Anui without constantly wondering what will go wrong next.
    Loved the whale and the sunset.

    • Hi Sue, we hope so too! It has been one thing after another and it is really trying! The whale was SO close, we had not spotted it until it surfaced next to us. The blow is what alerted us to its presence! As for the image in the marina, it is actually a sunrise. It’s often hard to tell which is which…

  4. I guess the good news in the ongoing maintenance saga is that you are able to do a pretty good amount of the work yourselves and really gain a deep understanding of all of the systems of your boat. Most of us feel hopeless when problems arise with our cars, but we have the luxury of being able to call a tow truck. I am assuming that when you are out on the open seas, a tow truck is not an option and having the skills to fix many problems is critical. Your photos continue to mesmerize me, Chris, particularly the one with the dark skies and the final sunset image of Mooloolaba.

    • Hi Mike, yes being self-sufficient and resourceful is important on a boat and we learn as we go. Over time you realise what tends to break or get damaged regularly and have spares like for the keys (sacrificial things that protect the winch motor from too much pressure) or the impellers. You are for ever inspecting things, walking around doing boat checks, to pick up possible nasties early. You can get towed by marine rescue or a fisherman if you have engine trouble and can’t sail back but it is frightfully expensive.

      I am glad you like the seascapes… sometimes I see a scene but the image I take does not do justice to what grabbed my attention, so it is nice to get your feedback. The last image in the marina is actually a sunrise. They can be hard to differentiate from a sunset. I have found the dawns are softer in colour here, whereas the sunsets are often fiery. Thanks again for the chat!

      • Sunrise or sunset, I was trying to decide when looking at the final photo. Thanks for the clarification. As for the seascapes, I tend to appreciate them even more than landscapes, because the view over the water seems to work so well with a wide view. On land, I tend to prefer smaller, more intimate landscapes.

  5. Really enjoying your updates guys. Head down – butt up … very descriptive photo. It’s easy to imagine the language coming from below! Helps us land-locked COVID refugees feel just a little less envious of your adventures: but only a bit. Thanks for sharing. We look forward to your posts.

  6. Great blog as always. They wouldn’t be half as interesting without your maintenance trials!! Thanks Chris! I hope the medical check ups are all good news..

  7. Hi Guys,
    Even with the continual maintenance there are quite a few who would volunteer to swap so you could do the house maintenance.
    Fix the leaking gutters.
    Fix the leak in the roof.
    Repaint the guest bedroom.
    Install all the draft stops on the sliding doors.
    Purchase and install new electronic front door lock.
    Etc, etc.
    Then there is the boat maintenance, and on and on.
    If we want no maintenance we would hire everything.
    Enjoy the freedom of Queensland, Victoria is not so free.
    Keep smiling.

    • Clarky! Nice to get your reality check. We might be whinging a bit too much but we are still living on board and would not swap it for life on land. Can’t see ourselves going south again for quite a while! Take care.

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