Tahina Back in the Water

On Friday, Tahina finally got back in the water! We were on the hard for over 30 days and it was yet again a very “hard” time. Despite hiring a team of workers (at seemingly low rates) to do the work, it ended up being costly in both money and time. The “cheap” manual labor took a lot longer to do a lot of basic jobs, and the project managers didn’t always do their job of monitoring the work or checking that things were done right. I had to do a lot of project management myself, and ended up doing a number of jobs I had wanted them to do because it was more cost effective. We also had some rather surprising situations with vendors who were hired to provide material or services that managed to delay us and ended up costing us more money because I was paying the team based on the hour. It made getting the work done stressful, and not what I was hoping for.

That being said, after a month of work, and more money than we usually spend, we did get a lot of jobs done on Tahina that were on our list. We completed about 5 pages of one line items on our list from literally top to bottom on Tahina. Rigging work at the top of the mast to sanding and painting the bottoms. Several cosmetic scratches and small dings on the fiberglass were repaired. We took out all our stainless stanchions for the lifelines and re-seated them with fresh caulking so they won’t have problems for another 5-10 years. We also went ahead and pulled our thru-hull skin fittings (which were stainless and showing signs of corrosion) and replaced them with composite material ones from Trudesign (like the ball-valves we replaced last year). There were dozens of more such tasks done throughout the boat. The good news is that all of the major systems are now functioning well, and the boat is looking like new again.

One of the big items we were worried about for this yard trip was our sail drive that was not working in reverse on the port engine. We had it pulled out and sent to Cape Town to the only authorized Yanmar repair facility. The Yanmar team initially worried me because they said the didn’t really find anything wrong. He said he had checked everything. But, I spoke to them on the phone and described in detail the symptoms and what we had tested. They ended up keeping the engine another couple of days, I was worried because he had said he didn’t fix anything. But, when the saildrive got here one of the main symptoms was a test we could do while on the hard (the prop isn’t supposed to turn in one direction when the gear is engaged) and that was now fixed. So, we kept our fingers crossed.

After we finally got back in the water (the tale of our very traumatic trip on the haul-out device will have to wait for another day), we finally got a chance to test the saildrive. It seemed better when we backed to the nearby dock and parked, but that wasn’t a real test. Over the weekend, we took Tahina out for a real test of the saildrive and had a very troubling experience. The reverse did engage, but the engine started sounding funny. More tests, and it seemed to get worse and the engine was running rough. OMG, we thought, it isn’t fixed! Then the engine even cut off! While Karen steered the boat, I went down and checked the engine and it was really running rough. It even did it in forward. At this point I was pretty upset thinking of the major hassle of having to go back to Yanmar to have the boat hauled out again and the saildrive fixed.

Our friends from s/v Kilkea showed up as we returned to dock, and I started checking the engine more thoroughly. I had noticed it was idling very low so I adjusted the idle. When I tried to start it, it cut off almost immediately. Marian said: “What about fuel?“. And I said: “What a very interesting question!” I went and looked and sure enough, someone had accidentally turned the fuel valve off while they were removing the saildrive! Suddenly all the tests made sense. The engine was just starved for fuel. Duh. We had a good laugh as we all recognized such a classic mistake, but also realizing it was only natural for us to reach the wrong conclusion at first.

So, we went out again a few minutes later and tested the saildrive thoroughly and everything was working. Whew! They did fix it! Yay! Just another day of drama to add to our pile for this boatyard trip. I think the mechanic must have had another look after what I had told him, and found something to fix after all.

Tahina is looking good now on the outside. We have a lot of cleaning and sorting inside the boat because all of the upheaval fixing thru-hulls and stanchions. Belongings had to be moved all over the place. There are a few tasks still left to do that were uncompleted, but hopefully most can be knocked off in the next couple of days. We’re almost done!

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