November 1, 2014-Getting Ready to Go.
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Working on the B & G
“Why is the wind speed showing zero?” I thought, “There’s obviously a little breeze, we’re sailing in it.”
I looked up at the mast head and the wind speed cups looked back at me; they were stationary.
Houston, we have a problem.
I walked forward and shook the head stay, giving the mast a good jiggle, the equivalent of hitting it with a bigger hammer. The cups rotated about half a turn, then stopped again. This time nothing moved them.
When you have thirty year old instruments you are not surprised to see them break. Not happy, but not surprised. A trip up the mast and back down with the recalcitrant mast head unit in my hand revealed nothing in particular; the cups seemed to turn fine. Maybe the bearing was a little loose; after all it’s been up there spinning for thirty years. The anemometer was the one part for which I had no spare
I wrote Myles, in Florida, who has been faithfully sending me B&G parts for about 20 years. I wasn’t even sure if he hadn’t retired by now, but he did reply a year ago when I had the last problem, and, sure enough, he wrote right back to me yesterday too.
“No, I don’t have an anemometer to sell you but I might be able to put a bearing in that one of yours, if the screws still turn, and if you are in the US where we can send things back and forth.”
Wrong on two counts: The screws seemed pretty stuck to me, and anyhow, I wasn’t going to be in the US anytime soon.
But I dove into it. On the workbench I laid out all my parts. I replaced what I could and cleaned and serviced the rest. The thing was, when I got finished, it seemed to work fine. The slightest breath would make the cups turn. OK, I’d still love to find another anemometer, but meanwhile, we’ll put this one back up, which we did, and it works perfectly.
How did this happen? Judy provided a possible clue: She said she noticed that there were a bunch of cobwebs all over the cups when I brought it down. Yeah, I noticed that too. Do you suppose a spider lashed that thing to a stop?
We also tried out the new mainsail. In fact that was the purpose of the trip. There wasn't much wind, but enough to see the shape. The guys at Fareast Sails in Hong Kong built a nicely shaped main, but it’s small. Not so small that we can’t use it, but small enough to aggravate me every time I look at it. It clearly does not match the dimensions I sent them and that is disappointing, but, I guess when you buy from a Chinese company, and they already have your money, you don’t have much leverage. I’ve been writing to them and they say it’s fine, and anyway, they seem to think, through some twisted logic, that if it isn’t fine, it’s my fault. Their emails skipped completely over my point that it does not measure to the specs. Well, we didn’t pay much for this sail, so maybe we got what we deserved.
We also worked on the dingy, trying to fix some leaks but when I mixed up the epoxy the mix went off and started fizzing and smoking. Funny, I thought I had the portions right. Next thing I knew it was hot and hard and had melted the plastic cup. Good thing it didn’t catch fire. The next batch was better.
So that's life in the marina; other than fixing things and socializing with the other cruisers who have finally started to show up here, we’re just waiting for the Tehuantepeckers, those strong winds which are blocking our path north, to die down. When they do, we’ll head out, ready or not.
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Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Chiapas