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Author Topic: 5000 Miles of Broken Bits  (Read 6308 times)

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waterdog

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5000 Miles of Broken Bits
« on: June 09, 2010, 02:29:09 PM »

We recently turned over 5000 miles on the trip odometer.   I thought it might be useful to share our experiences on all the stuff that we managed to break in the last year.  It may interesting or helpful for anyone putting together a spares list or planning an extended trip.   Our boat is 1988 with an M25XP with about 2500 hours.  We left port with all new running rigging, standing rigging, rudder, main, spinnaker, radar, plotter, watermaker, SSB, solar panels, and assorted canvas bits.  


Rigging:

The bolt that attaches the Garhauer rigid vang to the boom fitting worked its way loose.  I noticed this on an inspection.  No harm done, but could have been a bigger problem.  My rigger actually warned me that this could happen.   If you have one check it, or better still use an overlength bolt and a lock nut.  

One of the bolts that attach the bail to the traveller car sheared.   Fatigue.  

The new main has a couple of chafe areas near the ends of the upper batten pockets.    Otherwise it has held up well and been hoisted for nearly the entire 5000 miles.  

My sail cover tore near the reef line entry points.   Tired fabric.   I made a new and improved version.  

Engine:

New alternator failed.  Twice.   First one was a heat issue that actually melted the insulation on the main output terminal with resulting sparks.    The second failure, I'm not sure I understand yet.   The alternator imposed a sudden load on the engine, enough to stall it at idle speed.   If I disconnect the field wire it runs free.   So it's not worn bearings or something like that.   It could even be a regulator issue.   In any case, I pulled it from service and put the old Motorola back in.

Fresh water coolant pump.   Failed.   Shaft sheared.   Looked like a long term crevice corrosion problem. .  A good idea to have a spare aboard.

Seals on raw water pump failed.   Gracefully over time.  

One belt failed.   My fault.  It had been in service at least as long as I've owned the boat.    I believed it was a miracle belt before it announced it's mortality like some tuna flopping on the cockpit floor, at three o'clock in the morning, while on passage, a hundred miles from anywhere.  

All engine repairs, with the exception of the raw water pump, were performed at sea under sail.  Stuff doesn't break at the dock.  The only other things I've done to the engine are regular inspections, lots of oil changes, and an adjustment of the valves.  

Gauge failure.   I can't remember which one, I think it was the temperature gauge.   I replaced all the gauges with new ones (they were only $30 each I think) and renewed all of the terminal connections at the same time..   It's like a new engine control panel for $100.   When I get back, I will do the tach just so it is pretty and matching.  

Electrical:

We had a bulb failure on the steaming light.  

Electronics:

Cockpit speakers (West Marine cheapies) lost their bass.  Replaced with new West Marine cheapies.

One set of interior speakers.  Again, some cheap ones.  

VHF handheld.  West Marine VHF 150 failed twice.  First time it lost reception and was replaced in San Diego no questions asked.  Now it has no display.  

Autopilot.   Raymarine X5 failed once in shakedown.  The gear in the drive motor.

Laptops.   One Apple.  One Acer.   Do not get your laptops wet.  These were hit by a chubasco in Zihua where water went in sideways through an open port and splashed them.  They revived but failed a few months later.  

One Ipod touch.   Also a moisture issue.  I subsequently used the shiny back as a mirror to check a connection on an alternator.   Accidentally touched hot and ground when pulling it out.  Impressive light show.   Now there is a hole in casing where I tried to weld the Ipod to the alternator.  

One camera.   Dropped with the data slot open breaking the door off.   No longer suitable for underwater use.  

One bilge pump.  

One windlass.  Lewmar V700 main shaft failure.  

Miscellaneous Failures:

The rotating platter in the bottom of the microwave committed suicide on the port tack.  

Fishing lures.   Several were eaten by large things that I would probably be frightened to have in the cockpit.  

The dog.   Cancerous tumours in the right forepaw.    These were corrected with a two hour cockpit surgery in Monterey.  

Cockpit cushion.  Stitching ripped on one of them.  

Hatch in main salon cracked near one of the handles.    Suspect it was stepped on by kids on the coach roof while it was open.  

Barbecue.  Catastrophic terminal rusty crud.

Head.   One nasty plug.  One rebuild.   Acido muriatico is your friend.  

Outboard.    Broken connecting rod.   Still looking for a fuel additive that can fix a broken connecting rod.  I think it was a long term problem resulting from salt water and sand immersion when Foster was turned upside down end over end in surf off Punta Ipala.  .  

One guitar string.   Result of operator error.   Always make sure the knob you are tightening is the string you are trying to tune.    

Bottom paint failure.   This fell off the new rudder in flakes from the point of first launch.   I must have missed a step in the process. General failure of the bottom paint occurred in less than a year.   It was still attached to the hull - it just failed to discourage all manner of worms, barnacles, and green hairy stuff from taking up residence on the hull.   The new super toxic Mexican bottom paint seems to be able to kill a whale shark at 40 yards.  

On top of the above, the boat receives near constant maintenance.   I can maybe recall one electrical failure, but I seem to remember near constant stripping, crimping, and soldering as various bits of lighting, fans, electronics, etc were installed or upgraded.   The multimeter does not lead an idle life.   My hand rails perpetually need another coat.    What's with rust on stainless?   We don't get that back home.   The list never ever gets completed.  

I have been really impressed with the operation, performance, and reliability of many of boats systems.   However, after bragging about my head at the cruiser's cocktail hour only to become the victim of a pressurized poo storm the very next day, I now do not comment on what is going well.   Perhaps another day from the comfort of a sofa in the middle of winter.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2010, 02:10:05 PM by waterdog »
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Steve Dolling
Former 1988 #804, BlackDragon - Vancouver BC
Now 1999 Manta 40 cat

Lance Jones

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Re: 5000 Miles of Broken Bits
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2010, 02:36:14 PM »

Great report Steve. As to the guitar string... been there done that. Try it with octave pairs on a bouzouki!!!!
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Lance Jones
1988  C-34 Kitty's Cat
S/N 622

cmainprize

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Re: 5000 Miles of Broken Bits
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2010, 10:18:39 AM »

Clearly a very successfull trip.  I think I have broken that much stuff on a long weekend.

Cory
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Cory Mainnprize
Mystic
Hull # 1344
M35
Midland Ontario

Stu Jackson

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Re: 5000 Miles of Broken Bits
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2010, 10:57:22 AM »

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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

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Michael Shaner

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Re: 5000 Miles of Broken Bits
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2010, 08:49:29 PM »

Dude...what a ride!  :D :thumb: :clap
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Michael & Alison Shaner

Roc

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Re: 5000 Miles of Broken Bits
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2010, 12:58:37 PM »

Based on Steve's remark about the boom vang bolt, I checked mine and the upper lock nut was gone and the bolt was working its way out!!  I bought a longer bolt and a new lock nut. This was the upper bolt on the rigid vang.  The lower was still intact, but I replaced that one too..  Looks like the original bolts are not long enough to engage the plastic lock ring inside the nut.
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Roc - "Sea Life" 2000 MKII #1477.  Rock Hall, MD

Steve McGill

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Re: 5000 Miles of Broken Bits
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2010, 09:19:36 AM »

Steve,

It's a "small world"

From Santa Rosalia I just received a email (WinLink) from my brother Larry and his wife Lena. It was his birthday yesterday and he met you and your crew. After sailing around the world they sold their Slocume 43 three years ago and purchased a trawler. Thier m/v is named "HOBO", a Krogen.

Enjoy your adventure.

Steve

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CLARITY 1988 #588 TRWK
Chesapeake, Herring Bay, MD

waterdog

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Re: 5000 Miles of Broken Bits
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2010, 08:35:32 AM »

Hobo answered our radio call and gave us directions into the slip.   Larry was there to take our docklines when we arrived.   It is indeed a small world.  Full of good people.
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Steve Dolling
Former 1988 #804, BlackDragon - Vancouver BC
Now 1999 Manta 40 cat

waterdog

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And the stuff that worked well...
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2011, 09:00:38 PM »

 

All right.  We are safely in winter now.  I can update this thread.

Iíve just emerged from that period where I spend time on Yachtworld fantasizing about what might be one day.   Both Tracey and I are pretty convinced that we will go cruising again Ė probably for years.    We just need to get Foster educated and on his way in the world.   So itís another six to ten years before we go again.   When we do, it will most likely be on a different boat, but on reflection, the C34 has very few faults as a cruising platform for a couple.    We wouldnít hesitate to go again in Blackdragon.

Major advantages of the C34:

Sturdy boat.
Sturdy rig
Sails well.
Excellent layout.
Good berth sizes.
Big comfy cockpit for entertaining.
Well mannered in a sea.
Fast.

Disadvantages:

Stowage Ė you can only put so much crap in 34 foot boat. (also a major advantage)
Itís not really a blue water boat, so you limit range or take your chances.
Not a ton of room for guests.

If money is not limited, there are plenty of other options for more capable cruising boats, but you can equip a C34 pretty fabulously for not much money in the grand scheme of things.     We rarely bumped into boats 40 feet or under that had:  400 Watts of solar, a regular supply of ice cubes, all the fresh water you could use, capabilities for onboard sail making, full high seas email capability, big cockpit for entertaining, spacious salon, forced air heating, and full integrated electronics package with radar & AIS overlay, autopilot interface etc,.  microwave,  a decorative bathroom sink that you canít actually brush your teeth in, synthetic lifelines., new sails, a stackpack to drop the main in., 400 Ah of capacity, and the brightest anchor light in the anchorage.   We had all these things.   And we enjoyed them.

My point is not that you need these things.   That is completely a matter of personal preference.  My only point is that you can have pretty much whatever you want and the C34 is an able platform to support it all.  You donít have to spend a half million dollars outfitting a Halberg Rassy.  And better still the C34 is still small enough that you can afford a slip and a new set of sails now and then.    

I wonít begin to argue that it is a good investment to fully fit out a C34.   That wasnít the point.  

So anyway, the things we loved that worked great:

Garmin chartplotter with radar overlay, AIS, and NEMA 2000 speed, depth, temp triducer.   Easy to use, worked great and we liked it a lot.  

Watermaker Ė for Mexico, I wouldnít want to cruise without one, but plenty of people do.   We bought new, a good brand (Spectra), used it constantly and sold it quickly for three quarters of what we paid for it.  

Sail handling, reefing, stack pack.   Loved it all.   Used it hard.   Would rig it exactly the same way if we were doing it again.  

Spares.   Glad we had em.   Used a lot of them.   Donít leave home (or at least donít go thousands of miles) without:  raw water pump seals, fresh water pump, alternator, injectors, gaskets, belts, hoses, head rebuild kit, starter rebuild bits, breakers, fuses, filters, wire (including heavy stuff) and a full stock of electrical terminations.  

Engine, & fuel system.    Our 20+ year-old engine fired up every time.  Never had to fuss with it.  Never had any bad fuel.   Water pumps, a belt, and an alternator were the only failures and could be expected given the age & hours we put on.  

LED everything.   Ikea LED cabin lights.   LED cockpit lighting under the dodger and bimini.  LED masthead tricolor/anchor.     All were fabulous and consumed very little power.  

Solar panels.   Canít say enough about them.   When you donít tie up and plug in to shore power, you become obsessed with electrons.   Once installed, you get clean quiet, cheap electrons from solar.   Would repeat exactly.  

Update on busted things:

The compass didnít survive in the sun on the truck ride home.  Ordered new dome and seals from Ritchie for $45.  

The dogís cancer came back.   So our two and half hour long do it yourself cockpit surgery wasnít a complete success.  This time, we spent the big bucks and got him general anesthesia and a real veterinarian.    He seems to be doing just fine with 3 and half feet.  

Stuff I wouldnít spend the money on had I known:

SSB, HF email set up.   Itís big bucks Ė almost 5K.   There are other ways to get weather, do email, and send distress, at least on a little coastal cruise like we did.   Crossing an ocean would be a different matter.   Although we sold the modem to  friends in Mexico, and unloaded the radio and tuner and got 80% of the money back.  


Biggest Lesson:

I am so glad we just fixed up the boat we had and went when we did.   Now I know it can be done, fast.   There is no need to save a gazillion dollars and spend 10 years getting a boat ready.   Too much risk that you will have some ologist telling you about lifeís limitations.    Now I know exactly what I would do if I had six months to prep a boat for the Marquesas.    And I hope to be able to use that knowledge one dayÖ
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 09:54:31 AM by Stu Jackson »
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Steve Dolling
Former 1988 #804, BlackDragon - Vancouver BC
Now 1999 Manta 40 cat

Ralph Masters

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Re: 5000 Miles of Broken Bits
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2011, 08:10:03 AM »

Great report.  As i sit at my desk in the office I can only imagine how wonderful it must be.  Some Day..................

Ralph
Ciao Bella
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Ralph Masters
Ciao Bella
San Diego
Hull 367, 1987

Dave Spencer

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Re: 5000 Miles of Broken Bits
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2011, 04:56:41 PM »

Waterdog,
Thanks for the great report.  Many of the sailing magazines would have us think that we can't do what you did without a half million dollar boat.  Your comments on the C34 are very useful... but I noticed you said when you do it next time, it would likely be on another boat.  Do you have one in mind? 



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Dave Spencer
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waterdog

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Re: 5000 Miles of Broken Bits
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2011, 11:51:07 PM »

If I were to do another cruise to Mexico, I would have no hesitation doing it again in the same boat - it's completely suitable for the purpose when properly set up.   

Probably next time around we will venture farther afield and look for more oceangoing capability.   We might buy something in Florida, cruise the Bahamas and down through the islands, across the ditch, and back up.   Maybe start in Vancouver and do the reverse.    Or down the coast and hang a right - Marquesas, Tahiti, Tonga, NZ, Fiji, Somalia...

The sailing magazines and internet experts left me with the impression that my ideal boat was a Crealock 37 or maybe a Valiant 40 perhaps an Island Packet.  Fine boats all.   But having cruised some, I have a completely different view.  I wouldn't choose a boat optimized for the 30 day passage from PV to the Marquesas.    Ocean passage making is a small percentage of what I will use the boat for.   Unless you are trying to race around the world in 18 months, you spend the bulk of your time on short passages and living at anchor entertaining friends, swimming etc.   Platforms optimized for these purposes don't have cramped little cockpits and canoe sterns. 

Ultimate choice will depend upon how much I can sell my house for, what the low maintenance condo will cost, and what the return on my retirement savings will be.   But suppose a budget of $150 to $250.   I wouldn't mind at all a 40ish foot Beneteau, Jeaneau,  (though not their current models so much).   Also very interested in larger cats - I couldn't afford to dock one, but I think they are awesome cruising platforms.   

If the budget doesn't work out, I'd buy an old monohull, in Ft Lauderdale, sew some sails and go to the Bahamas.   

Half the fun is dreaming of the possibilities.   A trailerable tri - say a Corsair 31 could be towed around - I could hit Alaska, Maine, Newfoundland, Mexico, the Bahamas, and hit the Great Lakes in between.  Something coming out of charter in Croatia - spend a couple of years in the Med.

So may options...
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Steve Dolling
Former 1988 #804, BlackDragon - Vancouver BC
Now 1999 Manta 40 cat
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