3-Year Maintenance (Some Routine, Some Not)
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Last Updated on May 15, 2021 by Amy
While at The Boat Works in Coomera, we tackled a lot of projects. Some of them we do yearly, while a few are things we’d never done before. Starry Horizons is now over 3 years old, and although she’s still young for a boat, as she gets more broken in, there’s more work to be done. Here’s a list of projects we accomplished.
Galvanized Anchor Chain
Galvanizing is a process in which steel or iron is coated with a protective zinc barrier. This prevents rust and corrosion on the load-bearing steel of our anchor chain. This is the first time we galvanized our anchor chain.
Getting all the anchor chain off Starry Horizons is no easy task. We carefully dropped the anchor into Little Dipper and piled the chain. Once the chain was all in Little Dipper, I detached our anchor and we used a line through the roller to haul the anchor back up and secure it in the anchor well.
Thankfully The Boat Works has heavy-duty carts and complimentary loaner utes (trucks for us Americans) that I was able to use to haul the chain around. I took it to Industrial Galvanizers in Carole Park, about a 40-minute drive away. A few days later our chain was all ready to go. They even used a forklift and gave me a disposable flat to get the chain back into the truck.
Before we put the chain back in, David repainted the bottom of the anchor well, as the chain had left stains on the paint in there.
Liferafts have to be recertified every three years. Read our blog post about getting our Viking Liferaft opened and recertified.
The vinyl-wrapped steel wire probably should have been replaced after 2 years, but we held off and did it at 3. Read about replacing our stainless steel wires with Dyneema lifelines.
Sail Drive Seals
The Boat Works has a large number of contractors available to get a variety of jobs done. For the first time, our sail drive seals needed replacing. The Volvo mechanic at The Boat Works is SeaTech Marine. They came to replace the shaft seals while David watched and learned.
Last year, in New Zealand, we did a DIY bottom job. It took about a week, and it was not as simple as just painting the bottom; we had the team at Norsand sand the bottom down while we applied the epoxy primer, primer, and bottom paint. This time, we hired the team at Complete Antifoul Solutions who applied Micron 66 on top of the Micron Extra 2 we applied last year. They also raised the waterline a little bit and put Propspeed on our propellers. Finally, they sanded down the sail drives to the bare aluminum, primed, and repainted them with Pettit Vivid. This was the damage we stuck a band-aid on while hauled out in Vava’u, Tonga.
Dinghy Tube Covers
One negative thing about our boat that Fountaine Pajot has since improved is the dinghy davits are pretty low. To combat that, we make sure Little Dipper is extremely tight in the davits to get her as high as possible when we are underway. As a result, we’ve had some chafing and rubbing on the Hypalon. We’d always had dinghy tube covers on our list of things to do, but the chafing moved it up in priority. While we were gone on our 6-week Australia trip, Gold Coast Covers had Little Dipper and made tube covers for us. There is velcro attached to Little Dipper using glue, and the tube covers are attached with the velcro. The tube covers are fitted, and gray. They look great – you almost can’t tell that they are there. Gold Coast Covers installed a second layer of canvas at the chafe point of the davits, so when the canvas gets chafed through, it’ll be just the top layer that needs replacing.
Enclosure and Stack Pack fixed
About once a year, we’ve pulled off our stack pack and had the holes repaired. The stack pack tends to be under a lot of stress from the lazy jacks, so holes tend to develop.
This year, when we took our enclosure down, we also sent some panels off for repair too. When it’s just the canvas that needs repair work, I can stitch it up myself. This time, there were so places where the clears had been worn (and a few places where there shouldn’t have been clears in the first place), so Gold Coast Covers repaired them for us.
New Cabinet in Cockpit
With the addition of our new dive gear, we needed some more storage space. Several other Fountaine Pajots have taken the empty space in the cockpit by the door and opened it up. We had a custom starboard boat door made by Boat Outfitters and shipped to The Boat Works. It was not as expensive as you’d think it would be. With our new multitool, David opened up the fiberglass himself. Not the best tool for the job, but one that we had and worked.
While in Mooloolaba, with the help of our friend Wayne and his tools, David sanded down the bottom of the hold. David installed two of these scuba tank holders which fit perfectly, and voila! Two dive tanks stored in our cockpit (with a lock on the door!).
Wet Storage in Guest Head
Also while in Mooloolaba and with the help of our friend Wayne, David installed a closet rod in the forward guest head. Wayne made a custom rod hold out of plastic, which was screwed into the walls of the shower. The rod is heavy-duty metal, and removable. From the rod, we have hung our wetsuits, foul weather gear, and dive BCDs.
Our AGMs lasted about 3 years of hard cruising. We could have opted to just replace them, but instead, we did a complete overhaul of our electrical system and installed Lithium-Ion batteries.
Starboard Engine Room Oil Pump Leak
The Reverso oil change pump that we installed into our starboard engine room leaked, so David replaced the seal, washer and crown ring for the pump. All these items were part of the rebuilt kit. Thankfully, this stopped the leak.
Engine & Generator Servicing
Engines need to be serviced every 500 hours or once a year according to Volvo. We don’t hit 500 hours in a year, so for us, that is a yearly task. David does the servicing ourselves. He changes the oil filter and both fuel filters, changes the impellor, and changes the oil in the engine and in the sail drive. We refer to our service manual, which has a list of other items which we check, but have always been in spec.
The generator is every 200 hours. We change the oil, the fuel filter, the oil filter, and the impeller. There is a zinc for the generator that we change.
We’d noticed our watermaker quality was dropping over time, so David did a thorough servicing of the watermaker. He changed all the filters and serviced the high-pressure pump. He also did a chemical clean of the watermaker. While it helped the watermaker run better, eventually we determined that one of our membranes needed replacing. The two replacement membranes are waiting for us in Cairns, and we are just running our watermaker on one membrane for now, reducing our output by half.
Machine Part for Rope Cutters
When we lost our propeller in Vanuatu, we had our next guest, Kyle in New Caledonia, bring us a replacement propeller while we used our fixed prop. Unfortunately, the Flexofold props require machining before the rope cutters will fit with them, so we’d been running without our rope cutters. While at The Boat Works, we had the propeller hub machined to fit the rope cutters properly.
While reassembling our propellers, we discovered we were missing a plastic ring for the rope cutters. This was an 11th-hour discovery. After being at the Boat Works for over two months, it would take a week to ship a new part from the UK. Amazingly, David was able to find the proper material at one shop and the proper tool to machine the part at another shop and had a new part made within half a day.
There’s a check engine light on the outboard that indicates that the outboard needs to be serviced. It happens about once a year, so David took advantage of the easier position of Little Dipper while Starry Horizons was out of the water to service the engine. Gear Oil, motor oil, and filters were all changed.
Serviced all Winches and Windlasses
This is a project done yearly. Using the Harken manuals as my guide, I take apart and clean all the parts of the six winches and one windlass we have aboard Starry Horizons. All the parts are properly cleaned, then greased or oiled and put back together. It takes me about two days to do.
Shore Power Cord Adapter & Fixed Frequency Converter
We grip about our shore power converter because it was expensive and heavy and we never used it for its intended purpose – until The Boat Works. While we were in the water working on the battery system, it was very, very hot. The Boat Works is very protected, so even if it had been windy, we wouldn’t have been benefiting from it. The heat was so bad, a friend of ours slept on the couch in the cruiser’s lounge.
We’d never been plugged into 50 Hz before, simply because we rarely go into marinas. We also hadn’t thought about needing an adapter for the cord. Thankfully, Jim from Odessy Marine came to the rescue. He was able to cannibalize some parts and make us an adapter to plug our shore power into a 15A, 250V 50 Hz power supply. We had glorious air conditioning for the hottest part of our stay at The Boat Works.
When we got to the Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly near Brisbane, we tried to plug in again and our frequency converter wasn’t working. After troubleshooting with Atlas, we determined that we had a bad over/under voltage relay and they sent us a replacement part to Mooloolaba, where David replaced it and got us plugged into shore power once again.
When we left Starry Horizons at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, we thought it would be a great test to see how our batteries worked when we weren’t on board but left the fridge and freezer running. We were shocked when we came back to find the house batteries more drained then we expected. After investigating, David determined that our freezer was running constantly. There are several things we did to fix this issue, as well as to better monitor the freezer to prevent issues in the future.
Replaced the Isotherm Thermostat
I’ve officially replaced thermostats on two of the three units we have on the boat. Replacing the thermostat in our freezer required pulling out all of our frozen items and the shelves and doors to the freezer. The cold plate is removed by backing out 4 screws connecting it to the back of the freezer. The two middle screws connect the thermostat coil to the cold plate. The thermostat cover is connected to the top of the freezer by three screws, and the thermostat itself easily unscrews. The biggest pain is the coil, which I can never get as pretty as the manufacturer does, but at least, in this case, the coil is behind the cold plate and out of view. The two screws in the middle of the cold plate attach a second plate to the cold plate and the coil should be wedged between the two plates and screwed in tightly.
Installed a Digital Thermostat with Display Thermometer
Completely negating my work replacing the thermostat, David wired in a digital thermostat to the compressor control board which replaces the mechanical thermostat. We now have a digital readout on the backside of the gally which displays the temperature that the thermostat is reading.
Add Frigoboat Speed Control Board
This new thermostat had a default setting to run the compressor at a lower RPM than the mechanical thermostat. Essentially, it was taking much longer at a longer power to get the freezer down to temperature. To combat this, we installed the speed control board. This board lets us choose the RPMs the compressor runs.
Add Insulation to the Outside of the Freezer
At Clark Rubber we bought 10 mm insulation and David made a sleeve using the insulation and duct tape to fit around the four sides of the freezer.
Added a Computer Fan to Vent
One of the issues that plagues these types of freezers is that the cabinet they are in gets too warm. While we do have a vent in the cabinetry, David also installed a small fan at the vent. The fan turns on when the compressor is running and pushes warm air out of the cabinet.
Fixed a Leak
The was a crack in the wall of the inside of the freezer. I suspect it’s my fault, and that back before I knew how the freezer parts fit together I tried to force a shelf in where it didn’t belong. David filled the hole.
Have Refrigerant Checked and Adjusted
We had a marine refrigerant company come out to check the refrigerant, and it took three times for them to get it right. I suspect that was the real issue all along, but now we have better systems in place to monitor the temperature in the freezer and more control over the way the system runs.
Whew! We’re glad all that is done. Per usual, we tend to do a lot of projects all at once and then try to spend the majority of our time in the proper cruising season in remote locations. We can’t wait to explore South East Asia this year!
I was looking for this information relating to 3 year maintenance catamaran. You have really eased my work, loved your writing skill as well. Please keep sharing more!
As we are sitting in the hard doing projects on our Helia (now three years old as well) it great to get insights and compare notes. Thanks for doing these posts and sharing the details. We leverage them a LOT!!
Would love to get more details on the freezer equipment you added. Might consider acquiring the parts when we go back to the States in the Spring. Cheers. Jeff & Debby
great pics! Thanks for sharing…just starting to read your blog entries…very detailed.
Awesomely useful as always. Although the long list is a bit upsetting.
Great idea about the vent for the freezer – ours gets ‘toasty’!
SV Tigger, 2017 Lucia 40, currently at anchor at Malfatano, South Sardinia
Thanks! Glad you found it helpful.
Great to read of your works, and how you fixed various items, i wish there was a standard format for marine liesure items, so you can drop in , say a pump and valves within a hard piped installation, like standard frame sizez for electric motors, pumps, and flanged valves, and “”correct”” piping ‘cicuitry’ the detailed layout would have to suit the unique spaces available, but that is typical of industry too.
The fact that you do planned maintenance is a rarity, too many fix things when they fail. I applaud your approach. Good work team.