Sweat, Tears, or the Sea
For Dragonfly you’ve got to add luck.
For those of you who’ve been wondering how it’s been going on Dragonfly since the last repair log and report, let’s just say there’s been normal cruising-boat mechanical problems. Nuts and bolts do fall off a boat and that’s why we use cotter pins, lock rings, seizing wire, double bolting and ny-lok nuts. We’ve been fortunate enough to see, find and hear quite a number of those little items when they hit the deck or make those unusual sounds. Gives the crew an audible or visual reminder to keep looking for the harpoons that Neptune is throwing at all sailors.
Jill is particularly adept at sounds, especially those that are out of the ordinary from the normal squeaks, rumbles and chatters of Dragonfly. She’s always the first to know when the autopilot has kicked out, or when the invertor isn’t charging correctly. We all heard when the starboard drive train sounded like an agricultural combine running thru a neighbor’s laundry line of drying Indian rugs. The flogging banging thumps reverberated thru both the 65-foot hulls when I put Dragonfly in gear when pulling back the starboard engine while Al, in the water at the anchor, watched to see it set further. Much louder than when we hit the second of two crab pot lines backing to anchor near where Polecat was spawned in the Keys.
As always with every lemoney sticket that Dragonfly suffers, the charms keep falling on her as well. Several sailors have already guessed correctly that the coupler and shaft came loose from the transmission coupler and were swinging around on the sole of the engine room. The lucky charm Dragonfly gets to add to her weighty collection was that not a single bolt was lost or suffered thread damage. It was only a 45-minute fix, time mostly spent getting access to the errant bolts.
Most of the other “sounds” telegraphing needed repair attention have been far less noisy, like the tang plate corner that thoughtfully hit the windscreen before sliding on to the cabin top. However, as many of us can report, one of the loudest sounds is when a wind generator blade or even the generator itself hits the deck. It’s always much more fearful-sounding than it is, and in Dragonfly’s case the port wind generator’s blade flew loose at least a minute after Al had finished closing the hatch of the engine room just below the retiring blade. Why is it that blades always fly down and not off into the sea? Another charm for Dragonfly, or two charms because Al had a spare set of blades ready to install. (Note for wind generator owners: It appears that non-stainless bolts will rust, expand and crack the plastic out from their holes, allowing the blades to “disengage.”)
And since I’m trying to recall mostly from the last several weeks, we found a main sheet block nut on the cockpit arch, that the inner jib clew shackle lost it’s pin, and Al discovered that the compression beam seats at the aft point on the beam needed larger pads as they were cutting into the fiberglass of the main bridgedeck beam. There’ve also been a few more electrical quandaries but none as significant as the “great electrical panel re-work.”