Category Archives: Work

Splashing in the bilge

Good News Everyone ! This might be the last blog entry about engine cooling for at least a few weeks ! I know: you’re gonna miss the frequent posts on this really exciting subject. – I too will miss the excursions into the depths of the engine room every morning but it seems that new developments will shift my energy into different areas…

Die Wasserpumpe - wieder schoen gemacht.Rueckseite mit Anschluss and die WelleTest-Setup mit elektrischer Pumpe und kurzgeschlossener WasserpumpeLeon bei der Fehlersuche

After I did a lot of testing, the final changes I made was to replace two more hoses, clean and polish the old waterpump, getting two new impellers (also for the bilgepumpe !) and finally connecting both pumps in parallel to increase the waterflow through the engine. And it seems to work as during the last test-trip from Savusavu to the Resort, the engine DID NOT overheat ! Ok. I was only putting along with 1500 revs but still. Also one has to take the water temperature into account and that settled at amazing 31˚C (!!) during the last weeks ! With that temperature, all watercooled gadgets will run into slight problems. I borrowed a nice infrared-thermometer from Dieter and now I could verify that the engine indeed doesn’t overheat: After running for one hour, the cylinderhead measured 62˚C and the water coming from the exhaust 52˚C. All good.

Nun mit beiden Pumpen im ParallelbetriebEs braucht 1800U/min und eine Stunde, bis der Motor ueberhitzt !Defektes Ventil des WassermachersUnd selbiges, wieder schoen gemacht.

And as usual: when one thing is repaired, the next one will break. Our next patient is just beside the engine in the bilge: the watermaker suddenly wouldn’t build up any pressure. I suspected a seized valve which I took out and restored. Then the pre-pumpe wouldn’t start anymore so now I have to figure out how to get all the air out of the system. Well, well… next project.

Gleich wird's kuehler - oder ?Unglaubliche Hitze, eine Stunde nach SonnenuntergangKategorie 5 Zyklon Ian fegt ueber Tonga hinwegRuhiges Wetter am Resort.

In the mean time the rainy season went into action and the first cyclone ‘Ian’ (upgraded to category 5) missed Fiji and went over Tonga. Right now the storm is heading south where it will disappear over colder waters. The next one is just about to form in between Vanuatu and New Caledonia while here in Fiji the weather slowly returns to ‘normal’.

Posted in Hardware, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Travel, Work | 3 Comments

Orion, the new year and a new chapter int the book ‘Engine Troubles’

Sorry. I’m really too lazy today to do the english translation. But I copied some pics from the german version of the blog entry:

Der Flughafen in SavusavuGui am check-inViola schaut mal, was die hier fuer schoene Sachen haben.Da kommt die Maschine !Pilot und Co-Pilotauf in's Flugzeugtraurige Gesichterein letzter BlickLuft im Wasserkreislauf ? Nein.Die elektrische TestpumpeDie vordere Haelfte des Pumpengehaeuses mit Bilgepumpe (ohne Impeller und 'kurzgeschlossen')Der hintere Teil des Pumpengehaeuses mit der WelleEin Wasserflugzeug landet und faehrt kurz danach quer durch den Ankerplatz zum Steg des Ressorts.Yanmar 3QM30H waterpump, side

Posted in Animals, Hardware, It's funny ! Laugh !, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 16 Comments

Getting hot

News on the engine front: After flushing the engine approx. ten times with 5% H2SO4, the cylinder head now looks like new. Also the sacrificial anodes are 50% gone. Heh. But the problem remains: when running the engine in idle mode the temperature is fine; when the engine has to move the boat, it will overheat after only three minutes. Ten minutes later we can already see a little steam coming from the exhaust.

Before......and after.The water pumpnew gaskets made from scratch

Yesterday I again checked the impeller and replaced it (just in case) but that didn’t do anything. I also cleaned the seawater inlet and filters which means EVERY part of the cooling system now was checked.

Rainy daysjogging gearFresh fruits with three kinds of bananasYanmar 3QM30H cooling system

My last hope is the following: I don’t think there’s enough water coming out of the exhaust. Maybe the whole system is flawed from the beginning and we just need a water pump with a higher throughput ? The manual says, it should pump 800l/h at 1400rpm which I will measure later. Any other ideas ? Anyone ?!?

Posted in Hardware, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 16 Comments

Patience with the patient !

There’s not too much to do here in Savusavu. We knew that already before we came here and that’s ok. Gui is organizing the trip to Argentina. We all will travel there and we need plane tickets and visas for Australia (a pain in the a.. !!) In Argentina Gui will work on the upcoming collections for Coquito and the Kids will have fun with the grandparents.

Frueh morgens in SavusavuSpiegelglattes WasserUnsere mini-Nachbarinsel, heute mal doppeltBruno und der iPod. Unzertrennlich.

So what’s the captain doing ? Fixing things – of course ! I can’t sit still for too long and there’s enough work on the Suvarov. Our engine still tends to overheat so again I took apart the whole cooling system. All the tipps of the boat neighbors and of Leon (the local machanic-guru) are implemented. The whole system is checked from inlet, impeller, all hoses, mixing elbow, water collector to exhaust. But the problem is IN the engine which is no surprise since the above mentioned parts were checked before we left Polynesia.

Der japanische PatientEin Kristall ? Nein - eine Opferanode.Der Deckel mit der vorderen Anode - und die Silikon(!!!)-'Dichtung'Das innere unserer Tropfsteinhoehle

During that check I was quite confused that I didn’t find a thermostat. Now – with the proper manual I could verify: It’s indeed missing ! Luckily somewhere with the boat tools I found a box containing four used thermostats who after checking were all verified to work correctly. They just needed some cleaning.

The next surprise was the air filter – I wanted to clean it but – there is no filter in there ! Well. That safes me a little work. ;-) Next step: replacing the sacrificial anodes. That’s convenient because while doing that I can have a look inside the cylinder head and see wherther there’s any calcium builup. Next surprise: instead of a gasket someone used household silicone ! – On the front of the cylinder head !! The backward plate had no gasket at all. :-) Luckily we have gasket paper on bord and Gui made nice new ones for me.

So sollte das eigentlich aussehenDer Mischer - in dem Auspuffgas und Kuehlwasser zusammenkommenEntrostet und neu lackiertUnser Patient bei der Chemotherapie - mit ausstroemendem CO2

Inside the cylinder head it looked a lot like a flowstone cave. Lots of stalagtites and stalagmites – and even some crystals ! What a beauty !! Well – and why the cooling of the engine isn’t really working well is clear now. After consulting the almighty internet I find out that it’s best to use 10-15% acetic acid to remove that calcium buildup. Unfortunately the only related liquid available in Savusavu is white vinegar. So I decide to take a little risk and use 5% sulfuric acid to remove the crud.  I fill the (warm) engine with four liters of acid and let it sit until it stops hissing and bubbling. From the connection on the top of the engine we can see the CO2 escape. A nice chemical experiment for our schoolkids. The acid cleaning will continue for the next days. We’ll see whether it works…

While I was at it I also changed the oil, de-rusted and painted some parts, replaced hose clamps and hoses, etc. A nice little service for our engine. As you might be curious it’s a Yanmar 3QM30H with saltwater cooling. And as I had to search forever to find it, I safe others the work and put a link to the service manual !

Posted in Hardware, Learning for life, Links, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 2 Comments

Having fun in the anchorage

After our last sailing voyage we spent five days getting all the saltwater out of our boat and everything washed again. As we don’t like to repeat this experience, the newly found leaks were on the top of my ToDo list. And as the beach is too beautiful and the coral too colorful I look the other way grab screwdriver, hammer and chisel and start attacking the rust !

Der kleine Luefter ueber der Kueche - hier fing alles an...Eigentlich sollte es nur ein bisschen Sikaflex sein, doch ich finde Unmengen an RostNach einer halben Stunde Rost wegklopfen und -buerstenDie Luken sehen auch teilweise schlimm aus

My starting point is the little vent in the kitchen. Sometime ago there was also an electric ventilator installed but corrosion has eaten it away probably years ago. The Vetus vent itself, I replaced back in Moorea as the old one didn’t even close properly. But somehow water still found it’s way in – so I remove it completely and discover some realy nasty stuff: The leak probably existed for many years and not much is left of the 4mm of steel that our deck is made of. So I start the old game: first hammering the loose material away, then brush the metal until it looks somewhat stable. After cleaning it, I soak everything with phosphoric acid. Half an hour later the acid has done it’s magic and converted all the rust to black ferric phosphate. Now I clean again with freshwater and let it dry. The epoxy primer appears on stage and gives the ugly spot a nice, watertight cover. During the next days, I will paint additional layers of white polyurethan paint. Time will tell how that combination works out….

Das Badfenster leckte auch - hier die Ursache freigelegtUnd immer mehr Baustellen werden aufgemachtDie Luefter-Baustelle mit Epoxy Primer versehenDer fleissige Stahlschiffbesitzer - immer den Pinsel in der Hand

But as I’m already at it, I crawl around on deck and open more and more rust spots. Some are easy, others quite nasty. The always leaking bathroom window was missing a fitting underneath the handle and the window itself wasn’t glued to the deck with Sikaflex or 3M-50200 but instead sat on a 1cm layer of filler (the one that is used for fixing bumps in cars *rrr*).  In general I usually uncover two or three generations of household silicone which if at all is only to be used inside the ship. – Well it’s an amateur construction, one can tell.

Like this I work for five days on my knees with chisel and power drill in my hands.

Die Vorschiffluke ist auch undicht und wird gleich mal komplett entferntDer Rahmen entrostet und mit Primer bepinseltUnd die Pinne wird auch neu abgedichtetDie Vorschiffluke neu eingebaut - nun oeffnet sie nach vorne !

We discovered that the hatch on the foredeck also leaks water *underneath* the frame and onto our children’s beds. So I take the whole hatch off and again ramove three layers of silicone and cheap one-component paint. I polish the aluminium frame and after painting everything in the above mentioned manner, I glue it back in with Sikaflex. Also I turn the whole hatch a 180˚ so it now opens to the front. That will let a lot more air into the cabin and make our life more enjoyable in those hot regions we’re cruising in.

My last item on the todo list ist the tiller, which I dismount to put in nice, water resistant marine grease and again glue everything together again. Now all the leaks have been worked on -  if they really hold up against the waves only our next trip can tell…

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And now we’re only waiting for the laundry to dry

The roller furler is up and furls again. The new setup needed some special adaptation but now it’s all rock solid and mounted a lot better than before. At night, about an hour after sunset, the wind finally decreased to let us hoist up the Genoa and finally test the whole thing.

The last screw of seventeen. It wants to be drilled out.The old and the new forestayPutting everything back togetgherI removed some extension plates from the backstay

We of course used the winches to get the forestay in place and that was when we realized the winches also need some service. So I took apart and serviced the windlass and both Genoa winches. And as I could see from the hard grease and dirt inside it was quite necessary ! Well that’s for our preparations. Now that the boat is ready, of course we got another delay. This time it’s the laundry. HAhaha. We used the last opportunity to do two loads and hang them in the garden of our friend, J.C. to pick them up dry and nice in the morning. BUT during the night it started raining ! The first real rain in at least two months. Why now ? Why in exactly that night ??? Moorea just won’t let us go….

Lorenz helps us with his dinghy and pulls the forestay to the front of the boat.Getting the new stay in place...Mounted with the new, extended link plates.Setup complete !

Posted in Hardware, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 2 Comments

Rekordjagd in der Bilge

Wie so oft vor grossen Ozean-Schlaegen wuehlen wir uns durch die diversen Schapps und Bilgen des Schiffes, machen eine kleine Inventur, sortieren aus was gleich verkocht werden muss, entdecken no-name Dosen mit Ueberraschungsinhalt, wundern uns darueber, warum wir Spargel aus England haben, etc.

Mal wieder ein paar Dosen rausraeumenUeberraschung !Neuer Ablauf-Rekord !Die letzten Rollen Stoff, die noch keinen endgueltigen Platz gefunden haben...

Eigentlich wollte ich mir ein Posting zum Thema Proviant sparen, da ihr die Bilder bereits kennt: Ein Kleinwagen voller Lebensmittel wird quer ueber den Strand und ins Dinghy geschleppt, zum Schiff gepaddelt und verschwindet dann langsam aber sicher wieder in den schier endlosen Staufaechern der Suvarov. Der Grund fuer das heutige Posting ist eigentlich der neue Rekord. Ablauf-Rekord ! Und zwar haben wir ein Arnika Massageoel gefunden, dass im September 2003 abgelaufen ist. – Der letzte Rest wurde vor zwei Tagen in eine massiv heilende und wohltuenede Ruecken-Massage fuer’n Captain investiert. Das ist die Silber-Medaille. Gold geht an eine paar Knick-Lichter, die im Juni 1998 (!!) abgelaufen waren. Diese wurden in der Leuchtkraft sogar vom Plankton der Lagune uebertroffen. Aber vorwerfen kann man ihnen das nicht… -  im letzten Jahrtausend abgelaufen. Haha.

Im Stoffladen 'Venus' in Papeete.Einfach traumhaft, die Farben.

Ach ja und dann gibt’s da noch zwei Fotos aus dem wunderschoene Stoffladen, den Gui um ca. 80kg leichter gemacht hat. Diese Farben – einfach unglaublich. Und zu sehen wird’s die Stoffe dann wieder in zwei Jahren geben, in der Coquito Fruehling/Sommerkollektion 2015 !

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Details of the aft deck

While the new forestay was in the works, I focused on other little things that were still on the ToDo list. The surfboards got a nice little rack on the starbord side, I installed a tiny little platform onto the windsteering as a step-up from the bathing platform. Underneath I put the spool with 200m of safety line.

Eine voellig korrodierte Navigationslampe am Bugkleine Spass-BaustelleErst mal ausprobieren...Und fertig ! Die Roller passt perfekt unten rein.

One thing I saw on the SY Ui wouldn’t let go: The owner reversed the tiller to gain extra space when underway. And that’s exactly what I did to our boat now: I switched the whole tiller around and adapted the windsteering accordingly. Now the steering only uses the very last part of the ship instead of running lines and moving the tiller all around the aft deck. Which is stupid as it’s a very nice place to be during sailing and we loose a lot of space with that old setup. I hope the new idea works as expected.

DSCN0854Eindeutig eine Verbesserung.Volle Solar Power 15.5A bei 14.4V = 223W !Bruno und Viola mit dern Kindern der SY Ui

The new forestay is already in it’s place and yesterday we spent trimming the rig. Now the mast is 100% straight again and all shrouds have the proper tension. All seems to work out. Well… the lower end of the roller furler has to be adapted still. The new forestay is 12mm instead of 10mm and the newer, thicker terminals also grew in lenght. That’w why I have to extend the steel plates that hold the roller furler to the bow. That’s something for today.

ps: Right now we can’t publish bi-lingual since I recently updated the underlying blog software and the plugin to manage the translations (qTranslate) isn’t up to date yet. Up until then we’ll alternate in between english/german.

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The last repairs (hopefully)

The weather is changing. The water got a lot warmer during the last two weeks and the sun is back to it’s full power. – The southern summer is approaching and we should be gone by now. It hurts to see the wind pick up. There’s perfect sailing conditions from here all the way to the torres strait. But instead of using the wind, again we’re repairing. We took down the Genoa, dropped the roller furler including the stay (inside) and dismounted it. Now we can take the cable and try to find a replacement in Papeete. Actually it’s going to be an upgrad as we’ll put a 12mm stay – it should have been that size all along anyway.

During the ‘breaks’ I stiched up the Genoa, put UV protection spray on all our sunroof, tried to repair the handle of the stove twice (but proke off again), glued the floor of our Kayak three times (always to find yet another hole), installed the missing vents for the aft cabin, replaced completely corroded rivets that attach the boom to the mast, installed a new navigation light on the top of the mast, tested the shortwave antenna, etc etc.

Gui is working non-stop for Coquito as these are our last days with internet connection and the new collection is about to hit the stores in Europe.  Phew ! After all this, the sailing to Vanuatu will feel like a holiday…

Posted in Coquito, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 3 Comments

Frustration

Finally we’re getting ready to leave. We meet friends and families for lunch or dinner, give and receive gifts and we work a lot on the ship to finalize the last remaining items on the ToDo list. Finally on the move, finally back in to the english-speaking world !

It takes me three days to install our new mast steps. A exhausting and dangerous work. But a cruising boat needs mast steps: Sailors are lazy people and when there are no steps one rarely wants to climb the mast and so never gets to check the rigging. No steps = higher risk so to say. As soon as I put the last two steps on the mast, I start looking at all the blocks, terminals, shackles and immediately I find a major defekt: The forestay has two strands broken right at the upper terminal ! So we got to get the sail and roller furler down and inspect the whole thing, probably replace it.  That means time, money, work. And that we’ll not be able to get going in the next days. Ouch !!

Posted in Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 3 Comments

The Rancho Relaxo of the Seas has a new owner !

Sunday Morning we start our voyage towards Tahiti, where we arrive at 16h and tie up at the city pier. Today it’s Sunday program: dinner at the Roulott’s in the harbour and afterwards we take the kids to a childrens’s movie at the cinema – who knows where we will find the next cinema ?

Monday is work day: Gui, me and the kids march towards Fare Ute, Gui continues to the customs where she will negotiate the ‘Papeetisation’: If a ship changes owners here in french Polynesia, 26% of the value of the vessel have to be paid as a tax. But the Rancho Relaxo couldn’t be sold and we will give her as a present. Thanks to the persuasion of Gui and a very helpful agent we can lower the Papeetisation to next to nothing. It would be totally in Moitessier’s sense: We were extremely lucky when we had our crash landing and thanks to the help of so many friends and our families we got a second chance. Now we help somebody else and give our old ship without anything in return.

In the meantime I walk in that order to: ACE hardware 1, ACE hardware 2, dive shop, tool shop, Nautisport, Yamaha dealer, Sing Tun Hing Marine. At noon we meet for lunch as most shops and offices are closed. Afterwards we again visit: ACE1, ACE2, Nautisport, Sing Tun Hing, steel shop, AS Systems, Ocean 2000 und fully packed we get back to the ship. That’s really something. Marching the whole day in tropical heat with two children through the town without the little ones complaining even once ! At the ship we unload everything, put the new shortwave antenna on deck and only minutes later we’re on our way south towards the Taina Marina.

Tuesday, early in the morning I bring Gui ashore where she continues her oddysee: Papeete again to deliver papers to the agent, later to pick up my new sunglasses then all the way down to Taravao in the south of Tahiti where she orders new mast steps for the Suvarov, then to pick up seeds and two seedlings of the ‘Magic Tree’. In the mean time Christoph the new owner of the Rancho arrives and we show him the Rancho and start working. We have to repair the bilge pumps, replace the leaking stuffing box, check the fuel, start the engine, repair the steering and the kerosene stove and bend the sprayhood back to it’s original shape. We install a spare anchor at the bow and clear the deck, etc. At 18h the Rancho is ready and we’re all wrecked. We meet ashore to have a shower and a beer and call it a day.

Wednesday morning, Gui again travels to Papeete to finally pick up the fabrics for Coquito, while I get the Suvarov ready to leave and Christoph removes ten months worth of mussels and green stuff from the hull of the Rancho. At ten in the morning Gui arrives and we meet at the gas station where we get 120 liters of Diesel, Christoph brings the bottom part of Rancho’s old Mast on bord and we store about 50kg of fabrics. We set back out into the mooring field where we go alongside the Rancho and fill her tank with 20l Diesel and put the kayak on bord so Christoph has something that floats – just in case. At noon we’re ready and travel through the lagoon towards Papeete, followed by the Rancho. Christoph is at the steering and smiles like a child at christmas as we exit through the pass and find ourselves out on the Pacific again. For once the weather report was correct and indeed we have no wind and nearly no swell. We run under engine with five knots towards Moorea, the Rancho always 100m behind us. As we start dreaming of Tonga and Fiji and can’t think how it could get any better, a huge whale jumps out of the water just 200m in front of us ! Seconds later a younger whale follows and splashes back into the sea. We stand at the bow, shout ‘Uuuuh !!’ and ‘Aaaah !’, while we slowly pass the whales. What a crazy day ! Soon later two other whales follow us a bit towards the Cook’s Bay. At 16h we enter the Opunohu Bay and find ourselves surprised how much we think of this anchorage as our ‘home’ now. We throw the anchor while the Rancho is tied to the mooring that was prepard for her right in front of Christoph’s house.


The next months he will slowly restore the Rancho to her old beauty. And as both he and his wife are sailors the chances are quite good that soon the Rancho Relaxo of the Seas will set out for another amazing journey. Oh, wow. We’re sooo happy !!

Posted in Animals, Coquito, Freedom, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 3 Comments

Back in maintenance mode

It seems we’re back in our old modus: One little boat project every day.
Today, I took the third solar panel off the starboard handrail and put it together with the two on the arch in the back. That position is better as the side-panel always was in the shadow with the current wind direction. So I took the panels off, remounted them and hooked everything up to our old solar charger from the Rancho. That is now maxed out at 20 Ampere during mid-day. We still could use one or two more solar panels but for now it’s good. Not much else going on that would be worth mentioning.

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Wintertime – and gone is the heat

Finally I got the engine fixed ! Since we got the Suvarov, the engine had problems with the cooling and started to overheat after a few minutes of regular use. On the first try, a few weeks ago I took apart the water intake and cleaned all the filters. The second time, I took apart the waterpump and got rid of a little leak there. But on our last trip we still had problems with the engine, the ‘water’ lamp coming on after a few minutes and we could see white water vapor coming from the exhaust. Today I took off the rest of the hoses around the engine, cleaned them, drained the whole system of all fluids and dismounted the exhaust with all it’s cooling parts. I couldn’t really find anything that was cloaking the cooling but still – it seems it has worked. After today’s repair I started the engine and let it run for an hour without problems.


That’s one big, bold lettered item off the todo list ! And I’m even more happy about it – since I’m alone here with the kids and usually don’t get too much done these days. The kids – well, they found friends on our neighbor boat ‘living’ and try to spend every waking minute with the two boys.
All well in the South Pacific

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Waiting for the whales and new neighbours

As discussed in the last (german) post, we decided to stay in french Polynesia until mid August. A researcher at the Criboe institute told us, the Humpback whales already reached the Austral Islands and seem to be early this year. We hope to see them in a few weeks here in the Society Islands. It’s said that the whales also frequent the Opunohu bay. I can’t wait to see them live in our neighborhood !

Life on the anchorage is also getting a bit more interesting lately. A few days ago the french boats even became a minority for a day or two. That hasen’t happend since we’ve arrived here.  Yesterday we had an austrian neighbour: The catamaran ‘Wild One‘ anchored next to us and together with Martin and part of his crew I went for a dive at the outer reef. Unfortunately there wasn’t much to see. We spotted a lemon shark and a few reef sharks, a big mooray eel and a few fish but missing the colorful coral it wasn’t too exciting. The best was that I got to test our new diving equipmet which was a lot of fun !

The day before a conspiciously small, red yacht entered the bay. Only a short time later Gui, when coming back from a bike ride, ran into Ola und Nina from the SY Ninita !! It’s been a long time since we met each other. One and a half years ago in the Carribean, Bequia it was. So now that crazy swedish couple really crossed the Pacific in their 26 foot yacht. Incredible ! That evening we spent drinking pigwater and telling our stories on the Suvarov.

Also positive: With the parts I brought from Europe, I could repair the LUNAWlan antenna that got damaged during our wreckage in October. Now we finally have a good internet connection again – and WLAN on board. Yay !!

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Finished. And off to Berlin ! Yay !

Yeee, in only three days I’ll be back from where we started. Somehow crazy. We spent two years trying to get here to the other end of the world and on Monday I’ll hop into a plane and 46 hours later I am in Berlin. But the decision to go on really short notice also meant a little work. As we’re still not finished with the boat(s) we spent the week in Tahiti. The Suvarov moored to a buoy close to the Rancho Relaxo of the Seas, we exchanged anchors and chains. Now our trusty bow anchor is back with us and the slightly older chain with the ‘Brake’ anchor is on the Rancho. Both items we might sell next week. The old Liferaft is underway to Raiatea where it will be given to it’s new owner, the wind generator now powers a french boat that’s underway towards New Caledonia. The remains of our rig went on shore where Jerry will later transform it into an arch (?) for the Pukuri.

The evenings I spent on the internet looking for spare parts and stuff we need, organizing the trip and trying to get in touch with friends. Oh I hope, somehow I could manage to see them all. So anyway, my schedule is Berlin for the first days, then to my family in Austria. The third week of May I should be back in Berlin from where I leave on the 21st towards our home in French Polynesia.

Posted in Berlin, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing, Suvarov, Travel, Work | 5 Comments

Construction works in the aft cabin

The bathroom in the aft cabin was used as a storage space for all that stuff we didn’t find a place for yet. But as the ‘junk room’ got emptier and emptier over the last weeks, we thought it would be time to get rid of the walls and extend our living space. I started fixing the broken kitchen window and as Gui is of no help here, she took the power drill and started tearing down walls.

Again there is some difference to the Rancho Relaxo: On our old boat all the interior was done professionaly and uwing the same wood and brass screws. The Suvarov on the other hand is amateur built and the interior is a wild mix of different types of wood, screws, paints and taste (or lack thereof). In our current case most of the wood is glued together with additional screws that are hidden under filler and paint. That makes things a lot more difficult. But after one day of hard labor, the bathroom is gone and we can think of what to do with the new space and how to integrate the steering cables that run through the middle of the room.

Next day I take the old wood panels and fabricate a mock-up of the new interior. I think that’s a good test to see whether our idea would work. Now we’re gonna sleep one or two times over that and see if we can come up with a better idea. Otherwise we’ll buy wood and start the work.

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Two years ago

Two years ago from today I was spending my last days in the office, most of my thoughts revolving around the still endless todo-list. The evenings and weekends were spent doing planning and preparation. It was a magic time. Images of lonely islands and adventures out on the sea in our heads. Mostly those pictures came from the many stories, blogs and books we read during that time. And although we read a lot – we still didn’t really know what it’s gonna be like. Two sailing-greenhorns on the oceans of the world ? Back then, when someone asked us about our destination, we meekly pointed towards the west.

Although the conception of our trip was not completely wrong, it still came a lot different than we thought. One and a half oceans later we wrecked our beloved Rancho Relaxo and are still in the process of settling in on the Suvarov. The paperwork is done and the austrian flag again decorates the back of the boat. Most of the work on the new boat is now finished.

The main problem right now is the Rancho. She’s still rusting away on a mooring in Taina Marina and costs money every month. Now that work on the coquito webshop is finished, we finally have time to put all the remaining stuff online for sale. And although we don’t try to have any illusions we still hope that we can find someone who wants to live on board the Rancho. Maybe even repair her and sail again… There’s still time. Gui’s visa will expire on the 30th of May and thus the date of our departure is set. A fact that I’m actually glad about because it’s really time we get away from here.

Not that I wouldn’t love these paradise-like islands and the wonderful polynesian people. But as everywhere there are also some downsides. Right now it’s the never healing wounds that drive me crazy. Even the smallest cut will get infected, swell up and take forever to heal. My ankle is showing a nice purple/black/red cut that has been there for a month now. Antibiotics and daily cleaning doesn’t seem to help much – it’s still swollen and hurts. This seems to be a general problem as most of the other sailors have had the same issues and the bodies of the lokal people also show remains of those cuts and bruises. The other thing I’m looking forward to is to finally visit some english speaking islands again and have better contact to the local people. An issue that is completely alien to our kids. Although they ‘only’ speak german, spanish and english, they have absolutely no problem communicating with the local kids. A fact that is best demonstrated by Viola who joined the local kindergarden a few days ago. She doesn’t mind at all that she has to get up before sunrise or that the other kids speak only tahitian and french. The only thing that counts is the many new friends she has and the new games she plays with them.

Posted in Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 6 Comments

Late shift

The webshop for Coquito is advancing faster than I expected. That’s mostly thanks to the weather of course. One meter beside me there are 30 knots of wind and horizontal rain – I better stay inside. Because of the sound I can’t sleep and try to work on the computer again. Suddenly I hear  noise…. a sailboat drifts past the port window….

The small, red ketch from Switzerland stops right between the Suvarov and the Domani. The anchor finally took hold after a 100m downwind ride. Luckily there is enough room in between the boats to stay like this until the wind eases. After the situation calms down a bit, I place myself at the desk again to edit CSS und Smarty templates.

Posted in Coquito, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 1 Comment

Passing through

Although the work on the ship(s) – isn’t finished, I’m currently telecommuting. Hehehehe. Wow. That’s definately a word from the last century. I had to think about it because working over the internet is so common, discreet nowadays – nobody even thinks about it. But here in the South Pacific access to the rest of the world (whichever way) is quite expensive. As a result there are no open hotspots. So I used the precious bandwidth to download all my work and setup the software locally. Finally, the webshop for Coquito gets some attention.

In the afternoon the wind drops, it’s getting too hot in front of the computer and I hop in the water. I’m quite perplexed as I look around and see the front that’s moving closer and is sucking in all the wind. I hop into the dinghy and row to shore, meet a friend, get a baguette, some apples and 10 minutes later I’m back on bord.  The neighbors are also starting to move: Pascal is strapping his dinghy down on deck and Lawrence removes the sun roof.

A few minutes later, the wind hits, but the anchor is well set. We’re in 4m of water with 40m of chain out. That’s quite safe. I go inside, cook something and two hours later the front has passed. Those little squalls and fronts become more common in the last weeks. I guess the rainy season is now at it’s best. Or to say it differently: the watertank is – and stays – always full. Nice.

Posted in Observations, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 1 Comment

It’s going forward

When starting to work on a new boat, everything moves extremely slow in the beginning. It quite frustrating to follow every single hose and cable to it’s end. The flooding of our bilges also didn’t improve my mood. But even when moving forward in tiny little steps, it’s still the right direction.

And this means that now I got all our stuff from the Rancho stored away, we have a seawater pump in the kitchen, the freshwater system is also working again, the water maker is installed and working and the solar panels are mounted. And finally I’m happy again. Lots of work done and now we have energy and fresh water again.

After a week of painful calm in which the heat on board was unbearable, a few hours ago the wind returned. This is another thing that makes the skipper smile. First, because the climate is a lot better and the windgenerator will produce power for me. And second because I have to get back to Tahiti and for that I need some wind. The lonesome Rancho Relaxo is still waiting for me in Faaa and I have to get the rest of our stuff and a few more things that I have to deinstall. It’s probably just gonna be a few days but I’m looking forward to the moment when I only have to takle care of one ship again.

Christmas and new year I spent with Jean Claude and his daughters. It was beautiful to spend those days together and this was also the main reason to come here. 2013 began quite amazing. I wish it stays that way !

Posted in Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | Comments Off