Boat maintenance, our favourite thing!

Since returning from NSW to the Gold Coast, we have been tackling some more boat maintenance, our favourite thing… Not! Easter and the following days was a handy time to get a few things done before we embark on our next tropical winter voyage.

We used our friend’s home as a post office and got some gear delivered there – thanks Bill! It was like Christmas, only not quite as much fun! The largest box was the diesel heater – a new addition in prevision for our trip to cooler climes at the end of the year (and possibly before if our tropical winter is not so tropical). Also delivered was a new Primary Diesel Filter, to replace the weepy one, and a new hot water service element to replace the defunct one!

The Electric Winch

Remember the Harken electric winch which was stuck at Customs for ages? Well, it finally arrived while we were in NSW. So we booked a marina spot at the Boat Works straight after Easter for our shipwright, Ryan Thacker from 143 Boat Building to install it. Being at the marina also allowed us to be handy to shore supplies and professional help in case it was required for the rest of our task list! We needed to install our latest purchases.

Installing the winch meant fitting it onto the mast base and connecting the motor and electric switches. Sounds straight forward… except that of course none of the mounting bolts for the new winch lined up with the old cut out, the foot print was larger, the remote switches different. We are glad these hassles don’t just happen to us! But we are also frustrated as nothing with that winch has gone well, starting from having to purchase it! Ryan ended up enlisting the help of marine mechanic Trent and we are now staying an extra day at the marina for them to finish the job.

Diesel Heater Installation

The Eberspacher Diesel Heater installation was the big item on Wade’s task list. There was much reading and re-reading of the “destructions”. It is quite daunting opening up the box with all the kit. Also scary is the panel under the navigation table where the heater was going! But Wade was not deterred, he has a go at anything, having learnt a lot about mechanics and electrics since we have lived on board. We worked out where we wanted the heater and all the ducts to go before purchasing the unit – under the navigation and television unit to keep everything out of sight. It goes without saying it is rather tight under there!

Wade worked through everything over quite a number of days, but time is what we have in spades! The only task that was contracted out to “a man” was the extension of the exhaust through-hull fitting to avoid any sea water splashing back into the muffler as this is located under the bridge deck. We gave that to Chris from Shine Stainless Steel to fabricate (they constructed our davits).

Of all the tasks required, sitting in the dinghy under the bridge deck, drilling a hole through the floor to fit the exhaust was the most disturbing! And it was not just the drilling; getting wedged under there when boats motored up the river, creating wakes, was breathtaking too!

Another task was the replacement of the primary filter for the port engine. Ever since we replaced the engines, it has been weeping. Since we had to connect the diesel heater to the filter, it seemed a good opportunity to get a new filter that does not leak!

We were delighted and a wee bit relieved too when after completing the painstaking installation and going through all the start up procedures, the heater worked. Go Wadie – what a champ! We will enjoy a warm saloon during winter evenings at anchor. The bedrooms located in the hulls will not be ducted, but we have never heated the bedrooms even on land, so we are not about to start on Anui! We can just snuggle under a warm doona.

While all of this was going on, the port engine hatch was open which is always of great interest to Bengie. She loves roaming around the engine compartments! She disappears down below for ages, going from one side of the boat to the other, checking out the rudder posts and inside the sugar scoops. How she does not get stuck, we don’t know, but eventually she emerges. Sometimes we forget about her, close the hatches and go and do something else… until we hear a plaintive meow from the depths. “Let me out!”

Replacement Hot Water Service Element

Just like a land based hot water service, the element periodically has to be changed. It died while we were in Coffs Harbour. It is a wonder we have not had to do this earlier – 26 years after the original installation! The hot water service is located behind our wooden panels in the starboard hull, so we had to remove panels and drawers to gain access. Changing the element meant draining the 40 litre hot water tank which was not as straight forward as we had hoped. But the biggest challenge was removing the old element which took some brute force (thanks Ryan for the help), then fitting the new one and most importantly sealing it. That was a bit of a fiddle too. Nothing is ever straight forward. But the hot water service now works. Another big tick for the Captain!

Life Jackets Service

Last on the list was a minor and easy but necessary task: the annual servicing of all our life jackets… Chris’s job. With eight of them inflated to check for pressure loss, there was not much room to move in the starboard hull!

A few of the life jackets!

Nearly time to escape!

So, the boat will theoretically be ready by the weekend… till the next bout of maintenance. As you have probably realised, we don’t own Anui, Anui owns us! Now we can turn our attention to the crew – medical, dental and vet visits… Once that’s done, we can escape. Just under two weeks to go!

Departure Day can’t come quick enough. We have found the past four or five months – summer and part of autumn – particularly trying. The major boat maintenance has been a bit much, but also the extended down time because of the weather. We have felt stuck, bored and been far too sedentary, which does not sit well with us.

People often ask us why we don’t just leave Anui somewhere and go for a land trip. We can’t easily abandon ship and go travelling inland or overseas for several reasons: one, there is a scarcity of big enough marina spots for Anui, especially at short notice and there are frightfully expensive. Two, once you leave the boat, there goes your transport, accommodation, food supplies. It ends up costing even more money which we are opposed to. Three, our pussycat Bengie is getting old and we are reluctant to leave her behind at a cattery while we gallivant about. So we stay on board and float about, trying to find things to do to kill time. But we learnt our lesson and will organise ourselves better for the next summer season!

We are intending to start our 2023 voyage north at the end of April so will give you a glimpse of what we have in mind for the next six months before we head off. Stay tune for our tropical winter cruising plans in the next post.

19 thoughts on “Boat maintenance, our favourite thing!

  1. Anui gives you guys a new adventure every day, doesn’t she? I look forward to the next round of adventures, guys. 😎🇦🇺

  2. Very nearly able to escape. Getting your home into tip top shape with repairs and improvements has been a long journey but making a more comfortable, reliable, shiny Anui can only be good. Your turn for maintenance and then sail away time. Look forward to hearing your plans.

  3. Go Bengie with the exploring! We can definitely relate to the boredom in one spot as being around the Gold Coast for weekly medicals is driving me nuts (but has been beneficial). With relation to land exploring with ageing felines – we did a road trip with cats in tow but we had a caravan to let them play around with when we stopped – but like you, the love and needs of the ageing feline member of the family is paramount (I am not entirely sure everyone appreciates that). With a bit of luck we may be able to catch up before you head north. xxx

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with pussycats on board and the boredom of the Gold Coast! People think we are living the dream but at times it’s a nightmare. We should get away from Boat Works over the weekend and will be back at Runaway Bay for the last of the medicals. Will see you there.

  4. All the big jobs done -yippee. Have fun saying bye to the Goldie. Enjoy%?. I am at Di’s and am getting stronger. A few more weeks and I hope to be back in the big smoke.. Dr said I am doing ok given how crook I was. Onward and upward.

  5. With my makeup I would place a large tick after the complication of each of these tasks . . . no sleeping moments lost worrying or missing! Well, Bengie obviously does not want to be caught out either . . . i mean there are only nine lives and . . .. enjoy!

    • Hi Eha – very proud of resourceful Captain Wadie and amused by mischievous Bengie. He is a jack of all trades and she is curious even in her old age!

  6. Can almost hear your collective sigh of relief with all those jobs done! Happy sailing guys! (That cupboard full of spaghetti wiring looked scarey …..)

  7. Well done Wade for tackling and completing those daunting tasks, and with such a neat outcome. (I may be able to find you some more 😂).

  8. Well with all that work done, hot water and a heated cabin a trip to Tassie should certainly be on your agenda. But that’s a big tropical agenda you have in front of you. Looks fantastic. I look forward to your posts

  9. Hi Mick, the tropical itinerary might be a bit ambitious with the weather we are currently getting, but we will give it a good go. As for Tassie we are keen to get back there at the end of the year… heating, thicker wetsuits… can’t wait!

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