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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.