McGuyver ing

[This should have been posted early last summer but we forgot Sian had written it (or maybe Paul didn’t want to be reminded in writing!) The good news is that we are now able to add resolutions to the original issues!]

From Sian, on board Sonas.

There is a new to me verb on Sonas this year. McGuyvering.

The Oxford dictionary describes it thus “To McGuyer is to make a repair in an inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand.”

There are those who would say that is simply boating! Others, like Paul, will define cruising as fixing broken things in exotic locations because there is always something breaking on a boat, you just don’t know what it is yet! For me, this has been a season where things, some big, some small, go haywire and I am not used to that!

Some of the McGuyvering that goes on is down right amusing.

For example a cockpit sun shield. In four years we have never felt the need for a rear sun shade but this year we definitely did. The prevalent wind in the Bahamas during spring is from the East. So the bow of the boat faces into the wind and the stern of the boat faces West – where the setting hot sun is in the evening! So rather than be forced indoors Paul rigged up a shade using the large old front window cover that we had stowed on board (but should have taken off the boat – Hooray for procrastination!), add clothes pegs and bungee cords, and it worked a treat. [Our canvas shop has now made us shades for the cockpit].

By the way what boat could possibly exist without numerous bungee cords and duct tape?

More seriously, the switch on the dinghy went bad so the work around wasn’t in the truest sense a McGuyer but we used the switch on the motor cowling to lift and lower the engine. Not such a big deal, really more of an inconvenience especially when running up on a beach. [Dingy went into the shop for a full work up and new fish finder/depth sounder. All good now].

Marine sanitation devices (MSDs), otherwise known as the heads or toilets, always give many opportunities to McGuyver. I shall spare you dear reader a rehash of previous posts or any nasty photos, but suffice it to say I have been promoted to bucket holder and feeder of paper rolls when an extra pair of hands is needed. A promotion I did not seek but as a dear friend said, it’s hard to hide when there’s only two of you on a boat! [Touch wood, all working fine since then!]

Our batteries are not recharging as they should, latest theory is the alternators need attention so we have to check battery levels and start the generator throughout the day, and even while we are cruising on longer (8+ hours) runs as the start batteries dropped close to the red. Again no huge deal but if the oven goes off while I’m making bread, heads will roll! [Alternators removed at yard and fully refurbished. Starboard one was not putting anything out at all due to bad wiring. Yard electrician went through the boat checking electrics , all good].

Earlier in our travels our hot water tank failed which meant an unscheduled lay over in Lucaya getting a new tank delivered from Florida and installed. Mission accomplished and off we went.

The sulphur goop that gathers at the bottom of marine water heater tanks!

However the new, smaller tank seems to put out a higher pressure and impacts the dish washer. Now some purists would be scathing about a dish washer on a boat but I didn’t put it there and if you don’t use it you loose it so yes we run the dishwasher. However with the force of water from the new tank the first time we did so the hose came off spewing water all over the salon. Used every towel we own, mopped it all up and tightened the hose and thought it was fixed. It was not. After the second water incident we “McGuyvered” the water flow into the dish washer by partially opening the valve and then turn it off after every use. Means you have to remember to turn it off otherwise get up at 1.30am when you think about it and rummage under the sink trying not to wake the whole boat. [The hose was attached with a simple hose clamp which couldn’t handle the pressure. The yard has now fitted a high pressure connection].

New dishwasher fitting.

And then we come to the windlass trouble. We had a slow drip onto the starter relay on the outside of the port engine from a raw water pipe. Because it was a slow saltwater drip that evaporated with the engine heat and never got to then bilge mats (diapers) we did not realize we had a leak. We found a mechanic in Marsh Harbour who located a 24v replacement replay and replaced it.

Rusted out starter relay.

Then we had an interesting issue! For some strange reason the port engine cranked and started when we used the windlass to lift the anchor. After the mechanic came back a couple of times he could not solve the issue. We were reduced to wearing our communication headsets with Paul in the engine room turning off the start batteries, and me on the bow lifting the anchor while the boat drifted without power. Then telling Paul the anchor was fully up so he could turn on the batteries back on and starting the engine once the winch had finished and moving on without, hopefully, bumping into anything. Which , I must say, Captain McGuvyer managed very well. We have since refined this by bypassing some something [the start relay] and starting the engine manually with jumper cables, then lifting the anchor! Happy days! [By the time we arrived home this had stopped occurring. Our mechanic and the yard electrician could not recreate the issue. The yard did find the windlass loose and the battery switch for the windlass-shared start batteries badly cracked. So it could have been arcing at the switch].

So the point of this is, some of us are the natural McGuyvering type (Paul) who quite enjoy the thrill of finding solutions and puzzling through. And some of us (me) have no imagination for McGuyvering situations and frankly get a little tired of the “game”

Good job we’re a team!

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