….or did we????
Catching up (part 1)
Three weeks annual leave took a long time coming but it finally arrived. The original plan was for an annual overseas dive trip. We had booked a trip to Timor Leste but the Global pandemic of COVID 19 had closed both International and State borders so the alternative was to take the boat and laze around some sub-tropical islands for a few days.
The weather provided a good window to head off at first light on Sunday morning. Other boats had the same idea and we were the fourth boat in a line of six leaving the Burnett River, Bundaberg, and turning north. Some heading towards Lady Musgrave Island and others, like us, heading more north, north west. Light winds prevailed but sails were hoisted and it was a case of motor sailing for a while. This was the first time we could hoist the new mainsail. All looked lovely but the new slugs were tight in the track and somewhat difficult to hoist and drop when we needed too. Time will make things easier.
Once things had settled it was time for coffee. As I turned on the gas at the bottle Michelle could hear the unwelcome hiss of leaking gas. A quick discussion of our choices – turning around for repairs at home or head to Gladstone for a fix there. It was decided to keep going, the weather was due for slight change and we may have been held up at home for a couple of extra days. After a long 18 hour day of sailing and motor sailing we anchored in the shelter of Facing Island just after midnight.
Awoke to a glorious day and phoned ahead to the marina to book a day berth so we could chase up a new gas hose. Gladstone marina is great – the berths and surrounds are wonderful and the staff fantastic. However we weren’t able to source a new gas hose and instead bought a gas camping stove to make do. Time got away from us and we stayed another night and discovered a fuel leak.
I sought to track down the leak and then try and fix it. After lots of trouble shooting and tracing of hoses and fittings I decided on calling a mechanic who agreed with my prognosis that it is the tank that is leaking not lines or fittings. So we stayed another night with fuel slowly draining into the bilge. Each day I was emptying 8 – 9 litres of fuel from the bilge into a drum. The mechanic helped out with a small 12v pump and transferred all the fuel into 10, 20 litre drums.
The extended stay led to the chance finding of a gas fitter who could attend and fix our gas leak but he suggests there’s other work to do. Gas system is non-compliant to State standards and should not have been certified on survey and purchase. I am not surprised by much about this boat anymore. At least he brought it up to standards for us and certified it as well. I am really beginning to think ‘Mr C’ was in cahoots with the local surveyor and gas guy to pass everything when I bought the boat.
Now with no fuel in the tank it became more difficult to go anywhere. We stayed longer again, and after some brainstorming about new fuel tanks I got a shipwright to come and give advice. We designed and ordered a diesel bladder to replace the tank and a small compartment to hold the bladder above the old tank. The original time-frame suggestions of a few days seemed to extend and time got away waiting for replies and action from everyone. But we did get lots of other boat jobs done.
Climbed the mast to replace the radar reflector and check on the top end of the headsail furler. Fixed the compass light, fixed cabin lights and fans, polished the timber work throughout the boat and polished the stainless steel fittings topside.
Time dragged on and our stay extended out to three weeks in the marina waiting for others and doing jobs that I don’t normally have much time to do. So in that regard, to a point, things worked out ok. But I had to leave her in Gladstone and go back later to install the bladder and then another trip up later again to bring her home again.