There are far worse places to be stuck.
We won’t be leaving for a wee while due to a pesky rudder problem. The rudder can’t be moved, lest it crack a rubber seal and present us with a ‘Water on the wrong side of the Hull’ type problem; so we are sitting here waiting for a number of storm fronts to go through and then for a tug to be available to tow us to Hillarys for a repair.
Neon has moved onto the boat with us and is quite happy (we haven’t yet told him that his new home is supposed to move).
We are using this time as an opportunity to properly sort the storage, ropes and those little jobs that we have been putting off due to a lack of time (we certainly have the time now). We had Hugh (of Perth Marine Electrical – our boat sparkie for many years) do a tutorial with Peter on basic problem shooting, there was even a test – he passed! Peter started rebuilding the manual bilge pump and I inventoried the entire boat and tried to work out how to fit everything on board. We got so bored we decided to do some shopping and upgrade some of the electronics (VHF and AIS) and the gas bottles (we now have some seriously funky green fiberglass jobbies). By now I had broken into my craft box and was knitting mitts for Taylor (Student Thespian son who had been moved out last month) and his mates – you have to have something to do at night other than think about the total lack of ‘Cold Mojitos in the Warm Kimberleys’ action.
June 20th was towing day. As Peter carefully backed out of our berth, the little orange tug caught the boat beautifully and then towed her down to Hillarys.
The rudder turned out to be an easy fix, but the hard part was getting it out. A blowtorch had to be used to heat the collar to release the rudder shaft so it could be dropped down underneath the boat. Aside from the concern regarding a hot flame and flammable boat combination, the smell was hideous. Peter, harking back to his underground ventilation days, dug out the vacuum cleaner to blow fresh air into the lazarette before Jesse (Stem2Stern mechanic) gassed himself. Peter also helped out underneath to support the rudder as it came down (and then got a lecture from me about the complete lack of safety footwear on his part).
More waiting, for parts and a blacksmith (yes you read correctly), so we are working on more of the maintenance list. We gave the windlass a good greasing and cleaned out the anchor locker. The bow rollers (the anchor chain rolls over this at the pointy end of the boat) have been making creaky noises when the anchor is set, so we thought we would replace the axle rods. We had to take the pressure off the rollers to work on them, so we ‘set anchor’ for a few days (I don’t think we got a good set – ha, ha).
Peter has written a more detailed article, with more pictures, about the work done on the boat. You can find it under the ‘Boat Talk’ tab.