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Barry's Blog #126 - Summer is coming

As I write this week's blog the rain has ceased, the skies have cleared and the sun is shining gloriously. After a week of rain and cold northern winds the warmth is a very welcome change and it means we can crack on with boat jobs.

Dead battery

So that Aannsha could get full access for cleaning every corner of the forward sail locker I removed the two wooden floor sections and underneath the floor were two items. One that I knew would be there was the bow thruster motor and I gave that a quick inspection and it all looked okay. The other thing was something that I suspected might be there and that was the dedicated 12 volt battery for powering the bow thruster.

I used the voltage meter and found out that the battery was cactus, down to 1.71 volts. Luckily when our house batteries died in October 2019 one of the three batteries magically survived and still showed 12.75 volts so it was a straight forward job to swap out the dud for the good.

Of course that meant a new job was added to the list because I've now got to discover why the bow thruster battery is not getting charged from shore power.

Aft head

Both of our heads (toilets) flush with seawater, it makes sense really because there's always plenty of seawater when A B Sea is floating and we wouldn't want to waste our precious freshwater for flushing.

However when you mix seawater with urine it creates calcium and over time the calcium slowly builds up on the inside wall of the head outflow hose which can eventually lead to blockages as the diameter of the hose becomes narrower and narrower.

What is recommended is removing the outflow hose once per year and bashing it on concrete to break away the calcium build up. Sounds fairly easy right? Nope.

I spent 2 hours battling to remove the hose, it simply would not detach from the end of the through hull. Eventually I had to cut the end of the hose. That of course meant that I'd need to buy a replacement hose.

The irony is that once the hose was off the calcium build up was not bad at all, so it could have quite happily stayed in place for another 12 months of serviceable life.

Sacrificial anodes

Sacrificial or zinc anodes are unassuming but vitally important bits of kit. When you have two different metals that are physically or electrically connected and immersed in seawater, they become a battery. A small amount of current flows between the two metals. The electrons that make up that current are supplied by one of the metals giving up bits of itself, in the form of metal ions, to the seawater. This is called galvanic corrosion and, left unchecked, it quickly destroys underwater metals like the prop shaft or the bow thruster. The way to counteract galvanic corrosion is to add a third metal into the mix, one that is quicker than the other two to give up its electrons. This piece of metal is called a sacrificial anode, and most often it is made of zinc. I checked the anode on the bow thruster and it hadn't worn away too much and we may have been able to get another 12 months of use out of it, but it's a bit of a difficult spot to get at when A B Sea is in the water so I decided to tick that job off the list too.

Back at home

Moving back on board has been great, the studio apartment on site here at the boat yard was nice and very comfortable during the colder winter months but it just feels great to be home. Aannsha came up against a small issue of storage as we moved back on board. Her crafting materials have grown somewhat over winter and she needed to have a complete rethink about where she was going to stow stuff.

She made use of one of the rainy days and spent a whole afternoon reorganising everything in the 'princess suite'. I used that down time for a bit of R & R and played a computer game, because we all know that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.


A big shout out to the courier services that are still operating around the world during this virus situation. They delivered a few things this week and that means we can move forward with quite a few jobs.

The replacement hose for the aft head arrived, hopefully getting the new hose connected won't take as long as getting the old hose off did.

A galvanic isolator also arrived, that's an important bit of kit that I'll go into detail about what it is and why it's important when we film the installation process.

And the new cutlass bearing arrived from the UK. Once we fit that we can reinsert the prop shaft, install the new stern gland, reattach the prop shaft to the flange and gearbox and then finally reattach the air intake, turbo, exhaust components to the engine block. Once that is done it will be a major step forward in ticking things off our boat jobs list.

Signs of summer

One morning, during the week of rain, I woke up and headed outside to go to the loo in the apartment and was amazed to see hundreds of small birds covering every ledge, rail and rooftop of the apartment block next to us.

Looking at their tail shape I thought they might be swallows or swifts, but a little Interwebs research suggested that they were House Martins. They stayed for 24 hours before moving onwards in their migration north for the summer, which we can feel is now just around the corner.

Whether we spend summer in the boat yard or freely sailing back to Turkey is anyone's guess at the moment. All we can do is take one day at a time. Stay safe.

To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.

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