Donnie and Peter from DeGroot completed their work today (Saturday) at noon. Thanks to them:
* Every thru-hull valve has been replaced with a stainless steel ballcock valve
* All associated hoses and clamps have been replaced
* The gear-shift cable has been replaced
* The stern gland has been repacked and rubber boot replaced
I estimate that 6 man-days of effort were put into this. It will be worth every cent. Donnie and Peter did first-class, A-1, highest standard work and Pachuca is now a safe boat ready to go over the horizon.
I watched, asked questions, and learned a lot. Stern glands are no longer a frightening mystery to me. The packing should last for years but when the time comes I'll know what to do. I also no how to keep the packing greased.
On another front we had an unnecessary flap about location of the AIS antenna: I wanted it on top of the mast with the other antenna in order to maximize the range. I was given advice that this could and should be done. But Greg Hansen paid me a visit and said that the two antennas would be too close together at the top of the mast. However, he came up with a brilliant solution. He'll put a switch at the navigation station by which I will be able to switch the VHF antenna between the transceiver and the AIS. This is fine because I can do without the AIS during the short times when I'm using the transceiver. However, he advised that I go ahead and put up that second antenna at the stern as a spare.
I used my time to set up a sub switch panel near the mast. The main panel is crowded to the extent that there was a toggle switch behind the door leading to the forward section for switching between steaming and deck light. With the new setup all mast lighting will be controlled by the panel near the mast, which is a natural thing to do. This will free up switch positions in the main board and will make any future electrical fixtures in the forward section very simple because I won't have to cable all the way back to the navigation station. The panel is on one of my trademark jarrah bases. I'm using two bus bars (pos & neg), connected to the main switch with a dual core 6 sq mm cable.
So next week will be devoted to the mast: steps, new lights, and re-wiring toward the end of the week. Hopefully Maritime would have refurbished the wind vane/anemometer by then. I'm hoping too that Scottie will get time to put up those three new antenna bases at the stern. I did the leg work and got the fittings he needed, and he has the specifications (e.g. 260mm high). It is so much more efficient to do the work while Pachuca is on the hard stand that I would be reluctant to put her back in the water before those stands are in place.
My main tasks will be to (1) raise the lower anchor well drain holes and (2) polish the hull.
Looking farther ahead, I did some reading on the rack and pinion steering system on Pachuca, and in the next 2 or 3 months I'll have a look at three bearings in the system. Another thing I did was to figure out how to earth the mast and chain plates to the keel. The trick was finding a path with lazy rather than sharp bends. I'll draw up specs for the four cables required (2 for the mast, one for each chain plate) and have them made up.
Attached are photos of the panel, the two new cockpit drain valves, and the mast with its new radar bracket.
I sent out the following report 4 days ago: