The Halifax Work List, Mechanical Systems

“Can you please write a blog post?” asked my wife.

“I’m busy,” I say.

“But it’s been four days with nothing from you. You’ve posted every day for almost a year. People expect an update.”

“After such a flood, I’d think those people would like a break.”

“Then stop thinking and write a post.”

Over the last week, Mo and I have been holed-up on Ben Garvey’s dock in Purcell’s Cove, which is well outside of town. This has two benefits. One, it makes me hard to find, and so the number of visitors has slowed to nearly zero. Two, the pleasures of Halifax proper are too far away to be conveniently reached by foot. These together have increased my focus, and now work progresses well.

This next leg of the Figure 8, probably a series of short hops, will rely on mechanical systems largely unused during the first, all-ocean passage: namely, the anchor windlass, the engine, the autopilot, and the dinghy outboard.

Servicing the anchor windlass…
Ug. The windlass lives in the dankest, darkest part of the boat interior and has been ignored for too long.
Cleaned and ready for oil.
Windlass back in place and with new power cables.
Next on the work list came the starter motor, which has been sticking of late. On one in three starts, the pinion engages without spinning the flywheel. Instead, it just whirs. I think the clutch is either worn or rusted.
Getting at the starter motor required removing the alternator, so I took the opportunity to give it a good cleaning.
Mo is amply supplied with spares. Here is a new starter motor, whose acquisition was as difficult as digging it out of the forepeak locker. The old is being serviced.
Getting everything apart took hours, but reassembly was smoother.
Fluids and filters changed. New belts. Cleaned alternator. New starter. Every nut and bolt and hose clamp checked. All that and the engine still runs.
Also in spares, an autopilot ram. It has received no exercise since 2016, so here it is unwrapped, cleaned, new fluid in, and bench tested.
The dinghy is powered by a simple Yamaha 2.5hp outboard that has sat patiently on the rail these last 30,000 miles. Oil change, new spark plug, clean fuel, and boom, it goes. Here is the little beast challenging a container ship to a drag race. Luckily, we were ignored.

10 Comments on “The Halifax Work List, Mechanical Systems

  1. The best part of sailing, I think. My friend says I sail for the project. Nice,work all over. Very neat and tidy.

  2. You are an amazing and talented man. Continued prayers for your journey. May the wind and waves be on your side. Your cousin, Marsha

  3. Yes, she is right. I’ve been waiting. Haha! Get it done, be safe, and see you on the west coast sometime soon. I’ll buy you a beer and some oysters on the half when the noise settles. Be well brother Randall!

  4. Wow. And this is the guy who took no shop classes at the Academy. Amazing. Hats off for learning this huge variety of mechanics, apparently all self-taught.

  5. I should have added: I’ve got a dodgy air-conditioner, a chainsaw that won’t start, and a dead wristwatch. Can you help me get those running, when you return?

  6. Joanna-

    You are so right, now I know why my father used to always go nuts if my breadcrumb trail (Spot tracker) wasn’t moving when I would go sailing or I wouldn’t call him and tell him where I was and what I was doing. We are all used to looking at “where’s Randall?” and reading about his adventures.

    Randall- thanks for the post, I was suffering withdrawal symptoms. πŸ™‚ Fair winds and no ice!

  7. What a beautiful place you found to work on Moli. Looks like it will be hard to leave.

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