Saturday, May 26, 2018

Shaking down

Kintala is (mostly) a going proposition once again. The new alternator pumps 30+ amps into the batteries, so long as the RPM is bumped up a bit. Which works for us since we never use the WesterBeast as a stand alone generator. Unfortunately there is no clue as to what that RPM “bump” might be as the tach is utterly inert. It could be the thing has simply reached the end of its service life, though my guess is the new alternator has an output signal that is incomprehensible to the old tach. If there is a way to get the two talking the same language, that information seems to have been lost. The tach manufacturer went out of the tach manufacturing business ages ago, with little information from that bygone era finding its way onto the internet. We will likely figure out something but, in my humble opinion, whoever decided that using alternators for tach drive information was a good idea, should have been buying a better cut of weed. We will fix it if and when we can, but the boat will run without it. I do have to admit that this old airplane pilot/mechanic just shudders at the idea of ignoring broken things. Nothing good ever comes from ignoring broken things.

With the boat operable again, we are now looking for a weather window to head north. We almost had one. Unfortunately, by the time the alternator was installed and tested, and the inside of the boat was reassembled into a living - rather than working - area, it was too late to do the provisioning and boat prep needed to be on our way. Not sure that will turn out to be a bad thing, as it appears the weather would have kept us pinned in No Name Harbor for a while. We love No Name, but it is a long, long walk to the store. Given that Sub-tropical storm Alberto is heading in this general direction, laying low for a few more days seems like a good idea.

A good idea that is struggling to make headway against hearts that dearly want to be chasing down Blowin' In The Wind and then finding a place to park Kintala for a visit back to St. Louis. This particular chapter in our voyage has been a trial. After a year at the dock and a lot of work being done to the boat, we never expected this run around the Keys to be a parade of breakdowns. The Jabsco raw water pump, the Lavac head pump, and the Balmar alternator failure have left us missing several potential weather windows. At least this much can be said for the quality of marine industry manufacturing, it is consistently bad.

It is often said that, when it comes to marine items, you can get “cheap”, “fast”, and “good”, but only two at the same time. It seems more like “expensive”, “slow”, and “poor” are the real choices, but you do get all three at once. Recently I touched down on the blogs of good friends also out cruising. One had to replace a starting battery that is barely three years old. The other suffered a (relatively new Jabsco) water pump failure that put his water maker out of service. Both are out in the islands, so they were served an extra portion of “expensive”.

Like all chapters, this one will, eventually, close. Boats are always going to break, and the marine industry is not likely to improve in my lifetime. Fortunately these kinds of problems do tend to come in clusters. We did sit for a long time. This Key’s rounding is simply a shakedown cruse that shook out some problems. We still see sunsets from our cockpit, watch the dolphins and pelicans play, don’t have to please a crass or uncaring employer to keep food on the table, and live a life much more conducive to some basic sanity and humanity than what is often found on land.

Now, if it would just quit raining for a couple of days.

No comments: