A f***** heads

Written by David Townsend

19, February 2006

Position 08°04’198S 034°52’386W

At anchor, Recife, Brazil.

Hi dear friends, thank you for following our journey. Here’s this weeks update.

Recife is a very relaxing place, the people are so friendly and the weather is warm and dry with average daily temperatures of 36°C, which by late evening cools rapidly to a comfortable 21 – 25°C. The dates for the carnival we were given last week turned out to be incorrect and in fact the carnival is this weekend but in saying that every night here is carnival night although more so on a Friday and Saturday night. We found a very nice little bar ‘Arsenal doo’ where the drinks are 70p for a beer and a meal for two only £5. This as it has turned out to be is on the weekend ‘party central’ with the streets full of performers, from dancing troops to bands.

I plan to leave here on either the 28th or the 1st (Monday or Tuesday) of next week, so one more update from here to come although depending on how the Mardi Gras goes it might be a little later, and so could be the update so please be patient..

Life on board:
It has been a bad week for my crew (Woody) for every thing he touch broke, firstly and most unpleasantly the heads (toilet) got blocked during the night so as it was Woody’s doing when I found out in the morning he was given the job to ‘unblock’ it. em an easier enough job but he was unable to clear it so he had to strip the whole pump down. This turned out to be a dad idea as my crew are still learning about living onboard, you know the silly little things like always put things away when you have finished with them or never leave things (electrical) on the table or under the open skylight so they do not either fall off or get wet should it rain during the night.

Anyway, back to the heads (toilet). So after advising my crew to always use the correct size screwdriver for the screws (so as not to ‘chew’ the heads up) and to remember where what came from where so to make putting it back together easier off he went. After four hours of trying to rebuild the pump I took a look. unfortunately none of the above advise was taken so now I have in front of me a toilet system not only in bits and with no idea what came from where but all the screw heads were messed up but there was worse to come, all the plastic mouldings to which the screws screw into were broken off or nearly broken off.. So, basically a f***** heads (toilet). As this was clearly a bad day I left the rebuilding or attempted rebuild to the morning.

In the end I had to cut off the remaining mouldings, drill through them and the top casing so I could use some 50mm stainless screws (thanks to David. P for them) although I would cut them to the correct length to ensure a nice fit. After this I put some silicon around the edges just to make sure I have a tight seal then I rebuild the pump. Although the system now works it means buying a complete new unit when we arrive at our next port of call.

The ironic thing though was after a little inspection before refitting the pump I noticed the original blockage was still present, so basically there was no reason to strip the pump down anyway.

I think I will leave the rest, just to say it was a bad day.

The boat:
It has been a productive week apart from the above that is, we removed the wind generator as we had been suffering interference on all radio systems since we installed it in the Canaries.. this interference is a whining noise, but this unit should not produce such noise as it is a brush less system. Anyway we removed and rewired ‘Casper’, refitted and all was ok. That was not quite all as Woody’s bad week continued. I wont go into it just to say when we rewired ‘Casper’ it blow the inline fuse, after rechecking the wiring, refitting it, the last and only spare fuse also blow. Now this the following is what you have to do out here when things like this happen.

I re did all the wiring again this time myself but then we had no fuse’s left so I stripped down the two broken ‘Ventus’ 50 amp fuses (the sort used in windless (anchor winch) installations), cut some small strips out of the worst broken fuse (after striping it down) then soldered this strip across where the original ‘blown’ part. Sealed the back with silicon then installed and tested.. Luckily for me it worked fine and I have enough to rebuild it two more times should it blow on the way to our next port of call.

Next, we removed the forestay and fitted the parts that arrive too late when we were in the Abidjan. Basically the halyard deflector, this is really like an upside down ash try which sits just above the furling system at the top of the forestay to ensure the Genoa (the sail at the front) halyard cannot get caught on the rotating furler.


Well that’s if for now I hope all of you are ok, take care of yourselves.

Fair winds and calm seas.